by VR Sreeraman on  July 10, 2009 at 2:23 PM Women Health News
 Peru Has
Peru has one of the highest maternal death rates in the Americas due to limited access to emergency care and shortage of health staff who speak indigenous languages, Amnesty International said Thursday.

As many as 185 women die per every 100,000 live births, according to official figures. The United Nations estimates the number of women dying in childbirth higher, at 240 per every 100,000 live births.

In the poorest regions of the country, the rate can soar to 200 deaths per 1,000 live births, according to a health ministry source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"The rates of maternal mortality in Peru are scandalous," said Nuria Garcia, Peru researcher at the London-based international rights group.

"The fact that so many women are dying from preventable causes is a human rights violation. The Peruvian state is simply ignoring its obligation to provide adequate maternal healthcare to all women, regardless of who they are and where they live."

Each year in Peru, more than 1,000 families bury a female member of their family due to complications during childbirth, the report noted, adding that most were either poor indigenous women or lived in remote rural regions.

According to the health ministry, women living in the countryside are twice as likely to die during childbirth than women living in cities due to hemorrhaging, infections or complications after an abortion.

The rates are lowest in developed regions close to the coast, officials said.

Last year, Lima set a target for reducing the maternal death rate to 120 per 100,000 childbirths by 2015.

The poverty rate has dropped significantly in the South American nation, from over 50 percent in 2000 to 36.2 percent in 2008.

Source: AFP

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