Mar 26, 2010

Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA

AUTHOR:Dr Harry Strulovici, MD, MPHSOURCE:Amnesty International

"Mothers, the newborn and children represent the well-being of a society and its potential for the future. Their health needs cannot be left unmet without harming the whole of society."

- Lee Jong-wook, former Director-General, World Health Organization
Make Every Mother and Child Count, Geneva, April 2005


This just released report from Amnesty International highlights the gross inequity in health care delivery that exists in the USA. The structural causes of these deaths lie mainly in poverty and discrimination. Life For Mothers (LFM) focuses on improving health care delivery and advocacy, specifically targeting maternal health (a main indicator of how well a health system  functions). We recognize that in the United States, which has the most expensive health care system in the world, lags behind 40 other countries regarding the lifetime risk of dying from pregnancy-related related causes. African-American women are at particular high-risk--they are four times more likely to die from pregnancy related complications than white women.

LFM appreciates that maternal healthcare has been neglected not only in developing countries but also in the United States. The death rate in the US HAS DOUBLED from 6.6 deaths/100,000 live births from 1987 to 13.3 deaths /100,000 in 2006.

Our mission is to raise awareness regarding this ongoing tragedy. According to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), almost half of all maternal deaths are preventable. LFM underscores that preventable maternal mortality is not just a global public health issue but also a human rights issue. By using a HOLISTIC strategy that addresses the structural basis for these deaths can possibly lead to a paradigm shift in health system functioning and improve outcomes.

In the words of Martin Luther King (1965), "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”

We, at LFM encourage all of you to read the Amnesty International report and give us your comments.

Harry Strulovici, MD, MPH 

Did you know?

Almost every minute, a woman dies related to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.

Source:United Nations Department of Public Information

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