Without question, the highest rates of maternal mortality are found in sub-Saharan Africa. That certainly doesn’t mean that other regions do not also experience far too many maternal deaths. In Argentina, for example, there are 69 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, Mexico’s MMR is 49 and Colombia’s is 83. To prevent those maternal deaths the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) partnered with Merck to better learn the root causes of maternal mortality in the aforementioned three countries. Merck’s two-year, $500,000 grant will be used to bolster the data PADF finds and logs onto No Mas Huérfanos (No More Orphans).
Thus far, PADF has partnered with local organizations in each country and subsequently learned that maternal deaths were caused by a combination of factors including poverty, access to potable water, education, health care, and gender violence.
“A world in which mothers can see their children grow and enjoy their childhood is a real possibility if we achieve the prevention of the hundreds of deaths that occur after giving birth,” said Caterina Valero, PADF Senior Programs Director in a statement. “Beyond the loss for the child, the death of a mother leaves a legacy of death and poverty. Orphaned children are two times more likely to die before age two and ten times more likely to quit school. This perpetuates the cycle of poverty.”
Without a sustained, renewed commitment to discovering new data surrounding maternal mortality 800 women or more will continue to die per day during childbirth from largely preventable causes.