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Maternal mortality highlighted Americas' need for wider healthcare cover

This article was originally published in Clinica

Executive Summary

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is calling for national health policies to better address the need to expand medical coverage among indigenous communities, particularly in light of the high rates of infant and maternal mortality among these. The latest edition of its bulletin on indigenous health - Healing our Spirit Worldwide - notes that national averages can mask significant regional variations in these rates. In Bolivia, for example, maternal mortality stands nationally at 390 per 100,000 live births, but in the department of Potosi, home to a large indigenous population, the rate is 496. Similarly, the Honduran departments of Colon, Copan, Intibuca, Lempira and La Paz have maternal mortality rates ranging from 190 to 255 per 100,000 live births, compared with a national average of 147. In Guatemala, maternal mortality is 83% higher among indigenous women than the national rate.

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