High Maternal Mortality: Peru

Posted on April 10, 2011


I came across an article that really stood out to me. I couldn’t believe the number of deaths of mothers due to complications during birth in Peru. The United Nations says it’s about every 240 per 100,000.

Peru has high maternal mortality rate, right group says:

Pregnant women in Peru are dying at scandalous rates, according to the author of an Amnesty International report into maternal mortality in the South American country.

The report, “Fatal Flaws: Barriers to Maternal Health in Peru” found that hundreds of poor, rural and indigenous pregnant women are dying because they are being denied the same health services as other women in the country.

It also concluded that the government’s response to tackling the problem was inadequate.

Peruvian government figures state 185 in every 100,000 women die in childbirth, but the United Nations says the number is much higher, 240 per 100,000, which makes it one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the Americas.

In wealthy developed nations, only nine women die for every 100,000 births.

The five main causes of pregnancy-related deaths in Peru are hemorrhage, pre-eclampsia, infection, complications following abortion and obstructed birth, according to Peru’s Ministry of Health figures.

Amnesty’s Peru researcher Nuria Garcia said, in a written statement: “The rates of maternal mortality in Peru are scandalous. The fact that so many women are dying from preventable causes is a human rights violation.

“The Peruvian state is simply ignoring its obligation to provide adequate maternal health care to all women, regardless of who they are and where they live.”

Garcia added:

“Health services for pregnant women in Peru are like a lottery: If you are poor and indigenous, the chances are you will always lose.”

The report said pregnant women in Peru die because they lack access to emergency obstetric care, to information on maternal health, and to health staff members who can speak Indigenous languages such as Quechua — a native Andean language spoken by some 5 million people in Peru.

According to the report, 27 percent of deaths of women from pregnancy-related causes occurred during pregnancy; 26 percent occurred during the birth itself; and 46 percent during the first six weeks after giving birth.

A 2007 Census of Indigenous People showed that 60 percent did not have access to a health facility, said Amnesty International.