Sunday, September 25, 2022

PAHO: Pregnant COVID-19 Patients Unable To Access Timely Live-Saving Care

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A lack of access to timely care and disruptions to prenatal services are to blame for increased maternal mortality in the Americas during the pandemic, with one in three pregnant women unable to access timely critical care.

So says the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Carissa F. Etienne.

Etienne told a news briefing last week that  with COVID-19 cases among pregnant women reaching more than 365,000 in the region over the past two years, and deaths surpassing 3000, the situation was tragic.

“This is a tragedy, especially now that we have safe and effective vaccines,” the Dominica-born Public Health Specialist declared.

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A pre-published PAHO study on maternal mortality across eight countries showed that from 447 pregnant women that died between 1 March 2020 and 29 November 2021, 90% were already experiencing life-threatening symptoms when admitted to hospital.

Nearly 77% delivered their babies prematurely, and 60% were born with low birth weight – an issue that can impact a child’s health for the rest of its life.

“We must prioritise women to ensure they are shielded from the worst of the pandemic,” Dr. Etienne said.

According to the PAHO Director, pregnant women, in particular, are “among the most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Etienne explained that this was due to changes in their immune system which can put them at risk for severe disease.

As a result, she urged countries to urgently ramp up access to vaccines, ensure the continuation of health services that women depend on, and improve access to family planning services.

Headline stock photo courtesy Sharon McCutcheon

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.


  1. So it isn’t covid killing people. It is the policy decisions. And WHO responsible for the decisions? Rest my case.

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