To describe health and social inequalities in maternal and child health indicators defined in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.1 and SDG 3.2 targets based on administrative data among the departments of Paraguay in 2017.
Quantitative descriptive study with ecological design. Simple gap measures and complex gradient measures based on the adjustment of negative binomial and logistic regression models were used.
Fifty percent of Paraguay’s departments have estimated maternal mortality ratio (MMR) values higher than the national value. The percentage of births attended by a qualified professional in the country is 98.1%, with a range between 82.4% and 99.9%. In 13 of 18 departments, under-five mortality rate (U5MR) is higher than the national average, ranging from 4.2 to 49.2 deaths per 1 000 live births. Neonatal mortality rates (NMR) in the departments vary from 2.6 to 45.1 deaths per 1 000 live births. There are major health and social inequalities in the MMR, U5MR and NMR between the departments. There are no high inequalities in the percentage of births attended by a qualified professional between the departments.
Paraguay needs to make significant efforts to reduce the health and social inequalities that exist in the MMR, U5MR and NMR between departments. Numerical targets must be established to improve national values and reduce inequalities in these indicators, which will allow for accountability on the commitment to “leave no one behind” established in the SDG, and will help generate strategies to improve the health of women and children in Paraguay.