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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rising Maternal Mortality in Argentina

Maternal deaths are on the rise in Argentina, with mortality ratios tripling that of neighboring countries Chile and Uruguay. Many of the deaths are the result of complications from unsafe abortion.

According to the Argentina National Ministry of Health, the maternal mortality ratio reached 55 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2009—up from 44 per 100,000 live births the year before. For Argentina, achieving Millennium Development Goal No. 5 (Improving Maternal Health) would mean reducing the mortality ratio to 13 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2015.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of women die during pregnancy or in childbirth. Thirteen percent of these deaths result from complications of an unsafe abortion. In April, the World Health Organization reported a notable global decline in deaths from unsafe abortion, suggesting that interventions to improve postabortion care are bearing fruit. But in Argentina, where abortion is illegal except in cases of rape, unsafe abortion remains deadly for Argentine women.

With access to quality care, almost all maternal deaths are preventable. EngenderHealth’s work has produced lifesaving results in places like Tanzania, where complications from abortion are also a leading cause of maternal death. We have partnered with the Tanzanian government to improve the availability of comprehensive postabortion care (cPAC) in rural areas. Prior to 2004, when the ACQUIRE Tanzania Project (ATP) began, these services were only available at regional hospitals, which were too far away for many women to receive timely emergency care. Learn more about EngenderHealths' work in maternal health.

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