Geneva, 25 May 2023 (PAHO/WHO) – Discussions on issues of importance to the Americas continue at the 76th World Health Assembly, taking place this week (21-30 May) in Geneva, Switzerland.
On May 24, a progress report on Global Strategy for Women’s Child and Adolescent Health (2016-2030) was introduced, urging countries to increase investment in family planning interventions and routine postnatal care for women and newborns in an effort to reduce maternal and child mortality.
The report highlighted that in most regions of the world – with the exception of Southeast Asia – maternal and child mortality rates have either stagnated or increased. Most of these deaths are preventable and result from a lack of access to sexual and reproductive health services and antenatal care.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, approximately 8,400 women die each year from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth, with a disproportionate impact on poor women and those from minority ethnic backgrounds. Approximately 9 out of 10 of these deaths are preventable.
During the discussion, the countries of the Americas emphasized the importance of recovering progress towards maternal mortality after the COVID-19 pandemic, with a special focus on women from vulnerable populations, as well as strengthening adolescent mental health initiatives.
The WHO Global Strategy provides countries with a roadmap to end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths, including stillbirths, by 2030, and to improve their overall health and well-being .
During a strategic roundtable on the role of the health community in climate action, which also took place on May 24 and included interventions by COP28 CEO Adnan Z. Amin and the first US presidential climate envoy, John Kerry , participants highlighted the intrinsic link between climate change and health.
Over the past decades, climate change has led to an increase in extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and floods, as well as an increase in infectious and vector-borne diseases.
This is of particular concern in the small island developing states (SIDS) of the Caribbean, which are on the front lines of the impact of climate change in the region but contribute a relatively small percentage of greenhouse gas emissions, a main driver of global warming.
During the roundtable, participants emphasized that health should be a powerful argument to advance the call for action in response to climate change ahead of COP28.
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