Improving maternal and child health has been one of the greatest global challenges, as recognized in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2 and 3 for 2025.

These problems are not limited to low- and middle-income countries. The United States has been experiencing worsening trends in maternal mortality rates. In fact, the U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate in the industrialized world, and about half of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned, with low spacing between births.

Who would have thought that in 2017, countries would be gathering to seek solutions on maternal health? Who would have thought that a man would still be dictating his wife’s choice of contraception? Who would have thought we would still have hundreds of girls whose sex inception was not by choice, but by forced marriage or cultural fiat?

One in five maternal deaths in the region results from hemorrhage during the third trimester of pregnancy or immediately following childbirth.

Washington, D.C., December 8, 2017— An approach based on human rights using international legal instruments can help in the effort to reduce maternal mortality in the Americas, according to experts speaking today at a Pan American Health Organization symposium.


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