Health & Wellbeing
Jamaica | Feb 24, 2023

Jamaica sees an increase in its maternal mortality ratio for 2020, UN report reveals

Vanassa McKenzie

Vanassa McKenzie / Our Today

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There are increasing concerns surrounding maternal care in several countries after a recent report on Wednesday (February 23) revealed that, every two minutes, a woman dies during childbirth or pregnancy.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this is a result of a lack of access to healthcare services by women before, during and after childbirth.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said: “While pregnancy should be a time of immense hope and a positive experience for all women, it is tragically still a shockingly dangerous experience for millions around the world who lack access to high quality, respectful health care.” 

He further noted that there is an urgent need for countries to ramp up access to healthcare services for pregnant women.

The report, which is a collaborative work between WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Bank Group and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (UNDESA/Population Division) done from 2000 to 2020.

According to statistics from the report, there were an estimated 287,000 maternal deaths globally in 2020.

Europe, Northern America, Latin America and the Caribbean saw an increase in their maternal mortality rate from 2016 to 2020. Europe and North America saw a 17 per cent increase while Latin America and the Caribbean saw a 15 per cent increase.

Maternal mortality in the Caribbean

According to the report, Jamaica saw a slight increase in its maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in 2020.

Jamaica’s MMR in 2020 stood at 99 per 100,000 live births compared to 83 per 100,000 live births in 2015.

The Sustainable Development Goals target for maternal deaths is to achieve a global MMR of less than 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030.

MMR refers to maternal deaths per 100,000 live births for women of reproductive age (15-49 years), while maternal mortality refers to deaths due to complications during pregnancy or childbirth.

The global MMR in 2020 was estimated at 223 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, down from 227 in 2015 and from 339 in 2000.

Trinidad and Tobago had the lowest MMR in the region, at 27 per 100,000 live births, followed by Cuba and Barbados which both had ratios of 39 per 100,000 live births. Jamaica had the fourth-highest MMR in the region.

Bahamas’ MMR stood at 77 per 100,000 live births, Guyana’s 112 per 100,000 live births while Haiti recorded the highest with 350 per 100,000 live births.


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