Argentina: risk factors and maternal mortality in La Matanza, Province of Buenos Aires, 1990

S Szmoisz, S E Vuegen, A S Plaza, R Barracchini, S Checa, A Derlindati, D A Espinola, E C Rúgolo
World Health Statistics Quarterly. Rapport Trimestriel de Statistiques Sanitaires Mondiales 1995, 48 (1): 4-7
An evaluation of the health services infrastructure of the La Matanza part of Buenos Aires in 1990 was carried out in addition to an evaluation of maternal mortality case studies. This procedure allowed for an assessment of factors related to the performance of health services and the health behaviour of women which, concomitantly, led to maternal deaths. Approximately 50% of maternal deaths went unreported in La Matanza on the basis of record checks performed in the institutions, hence the maternal mortality was twice as high as officially indicated for 1990. Flaws in the proper clinical diagnosis of the causes of deaths were detected and a higher degree of precision was called for. In the case of women who came from the poorest section of La Matanza, most deaths were due to complications related to abortion (either self-induced or non-professionally induced). Most of the maternal deaths could have been avoided. The sociological enquiry revealed conflicting social pressures which led the women onto the path of maternal death. The men were found not to be involved in the health issues arising from pregnancy and delivery, and the reproductive process was seen to lie exclusively in the women's domain. The services were not prepared to cater for the needs of poor women, and the inadequacy of the existing system to reach the women in need was well documented. Detection of women at risk was lacking in most establishments and, with the exception of one hospital, referral procedures did not exist. At the municipal level the absence of a policy for maternal and child health was noted.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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