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Latino Daily News

Tuesday May 10, 2011

Bolivia Has Highest Maternal & Infant Mortality Rate in Latin America and Both Are Preventable

Bolivia Has Highest Maternal & Infant Mortality Rate in Latin America and Both Are Preventable

Photo: Infant Mortality Rate in Bolivia High

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Every year 37% of maternal deaths are recorded in health centers in Bolivia. According to data by the organization VisiĆ³n Mundial, more than 17 000 kids and 600 mothers die annually in the country.

A study conducted by the United Nations National Sexual and Reproductive Health Programme of the Population Fund (UNFPA), three main causes emerge that fuel the phenomenon. The first is ignorance. In fact, although women have the right to access the services of hospitals, many, particularly those living in rural areas, prefer to remain in their homes and use medical care only during pregnancy or in case of complications during childbirth. A second factor identified by the UNFPA is about not knowing how to reach health centers or not knowing the place, although the local service guaranteed for Mother and Child provides local transportation in emergencies. The third factor contributing to making the situation worse is the precariousness of their services.

Despite government efforts, through various health programs, the country has the second largest maternal and infant mortality rates in Latin America and the Caribbean, after Haiti. According to official sources, the population is assisted by at least 3,480 hospitals dependent on municipal authorities, NGOs, the Church and the National Health Fund (CNS).