Press releases

Latin America & Caribbean Framework Announced to End Preventable Maternal & Child Deaths
Governments, Donors, & Civil Society Address Region’s Health Inequalities

Panama, 12 September 2013—The Promise Renewed for the Americas conference concluded Thursday with a framework to accelerate the elimination of preventable maternal and child deaths in the region, which primarily affects poor, indigenous, rural, and other marginalized populations. Twentysix Latin American and Caribbean governments, seven international partners, and numerous civil society organizations signed the Declaration of Panama committing to this call to action.

The framework and declaration emphasize the need for a renewed focus on child and maternal health issues, which has waned in recent years. While Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the regions closest to reaching the Millennium Development Goals on child and maternal health by 2015, InterAgency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (IGME) found the region to be the one with least progress in the past five years.

“This unprecedented meeting brought the Americas together to focus on the evidence and solutions necessary to combat the great inequalities in health that we experience in our countries,” said Dr. Violeta Menjivar, Vice-Minister of Health from El Salvador. “We have very challenging work ahead of us, but regional solidarity and the lessons learned by our neighbors will accelerate our progress.”

The framework, which will serve as a regional guide for action and accountability, calls for key strategic shifts:

    ● Ensure universal coverage for basic health services
    ● Use multisectoral approaches to prevent health problems
    ● Improve data collection and analysis to select best solutions
    ● Increase participation by end users and providers in problem solving
    ● Improve collaboration among national and regional agencies

In developing countries, under-five mortality rates tend to be 50 percent higher in rural areas, whereas in Latin America it is 70 percent. Similarly, under-five mortality in the region is almost three times higher among the poorest quintile than the richest quintile, which is the worst ratio worldwide, where the average among developing regions is less than two times higher among the poorest quintile.

The meeting was hosted by the Government of Panama and sponsored by the following partners: The InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB), the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), the Salud Mesoamérica 2015 Initiative (SM2015), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children’s Fund Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNICEF), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the World Bank.

For additional information, visit the conference website or follow on social media #PromisedRenewed.