18 maternal deaths recorded in 2019

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Guyana has recorded some 18 cases of maternal deaths during the course of 2019, according to Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Shamdeo Persaud.

On the sidelines of a quarterly meeting of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO)-funded Maternal and Child Health/Expanded Immunisation Programme on Wednesday, Persaud told reporters that they have recorded the death of a total of 26 pregnant women. However, eight of these are indirect causes such as vehicular accidents.

According to the CMO, they are required to collect any death of a woman while she is pregnant or 42 days after delivery but they are still analysing the data to classify those caused by the pregnancies.

Nevertheless, among the 18 cases of maternal deaths, five of them are teenagers, while one was a suicide case.

Dr Persaud noted that the Public Health Ministry in collaboration with PAHO has been working assiduously to address the major causes of maternal deaths in Guyana, which include bleeding and hypertension.

“Those still seem to be the main causes from the preliminary analysis. We’ve had quite a few ectopic pregnancies (complications from the embryo attaching outside the uterus) too that came into the reporting system. When you look at them carefully, it highlights the need for more access to effective contraceptives, for example, because many persons sometimes are not aware that they are pregnant,” he explained.

To this end, he highlighted the need to enhance access to safe contraceptive measures.
“We’ve started the programme of implants as a form of contraception along with those usual contraceptives that we’re familiar with: condom, pills and other barrier methods. But we’re also looking at the use of implants and injections as a way to assist,” Dr Persaud added.

In March last year, the CMO had told this publication that the country has failed to meet a number of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) including reducing the alarming rates of maternal deaths.

At the time, Guyana’s last mortality rate was standing at 229 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.