Reducing Maternal Mortality within a Framework of Rights
The first meeting was held on November the 13th in the Dominican Republic, where the Regional Task Force for the Reduction of Maternal Mortality (GTR) presented the updated document titled: Interagency Strategic Consensus for Latin America and the Carribean.
The GTR, with the assistance of a consultant, is working on revising and updating the Interagency Strategic Consensus Document for reducing maternal morbidity and mortality in Latin America and the Caribbean. The important activity is led by a sub-committee of UNFPA, PAHO and USAID/ MCHIP (Maternal Child Health Integrated Program), with support from GTR Family Care International as Secretariat.
The document represents a joint vision of the priority areas to reduce maternal and neonatal deaths and promotes interventions based on the best available evidence within a framework of rights and the promotion of health.
The purpose of this regional policy instrument is to facilitate coordination between the technical cooperation organisms, and between these and the countries, focusing on five areas for action:
• Support the necessary legal and institutional frameworks to put local and national policies into practice,
• Define an integral set of necessary measures to reduce maternal mortality, with an emphasis on essential obstetric care, quality treatment during childbirth, and access to family planning,
• Increase public demand for high-quality, affordable, and accessible health services, and develop communities’ capacity to access these services,
• Create associations and alliances between the organizations at a national and international level, and
• Establish systems to monitor the reduction of maternal mortality and financial mechanisms to achieve efficacy in terms of costs and sustainability.
During the meeting, the document was reviewed and validated with selected professionals in the region, cooperation agencies and institutions representing physicians and midwives.
The second meeting took place during the next two days with a focus on updating guidelines for epidemiological surveillance of maternal mortality in order to use a new model of Epidemiological Surveillance and Response to Maternal Mortality (VER-MM). From maternal death as mandatory notification event, this VER-MM system provides for a continuous cyclical process allows identification of maternal deaths in real time, providing data and information for action at the level of services and the health system.
The meeting included directors of sexual health and reproductive health and responsible ministries of epidemiological systems of the countries of Jamaica, El Salvador, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Brazil and Mexico, as well as regional experts and technical agencies and civil society organizations, to review the document. The participants made suggestions and the inputs were well received and will be integrated in the document.
Report prepared by ICM Board Member Mirian Solis