MONTEVIDEO – The Uruguayan Health Ministry presented Monday a report that details the demographic trends of this country, noteworthy because it has the lowest maternal mortality rate in Latin America and the Caribbean, trailing only the United States and Canada in the Western Hemisphere.
That fact was highlighted by Deputy Health Minister Cristina Lustemberg during her presentation of the report entitled “Recent Trends in Fertility, Birth Rate, and Infant and Maternal Mortality in Uruguay,” at a meeting this Monday at the Public Health Ministry (MSP) in Montevideo.
According to data in the report, eight women died in childbirth in 2016, less than the eleven who died in 2015.
“Uruguay in recent years has a clearly declining rate (of maternal mortality),” the deputy health minister said, while insisting that the country’s data in this area has “very great credibility.”
Meanwhile, authorities presented the total number of births in the country, which was down from 48,926 in 2015 to 47,049 in 2016.
In that regard, Lustemberg said that those 1,877 fewer births are the result of the “lower fertility of women in various age groups,” but “particularly” among adolescents.
Specifically, pregnancy among teenage girls between ages 15-19 fell from 7,371 in 2015 to 6,575 in 2016.
Despite this decline, the country continues with “very high numbers of pregnancies” in that stage of adolescence.
According to Lustemberg, that is a problem that afflicts not only Uruguay but the rest of the region and the whole world.
“It is the tip of the iceberg of the many inequities related to social vulnerability. We believe this problem must be dealt with by social policy,” she said, adding that lowering the rate of unintended teen pregnancies is a priority of her ministry.
Lustemberg also spoke of pregnancy among girls between 10-14, who numbered 123 in 2016, one more than in the previous year.
“Almost 100 percent of those pregnancies arose from situations of abuse or sexual trafficking. This is an area where we really have a lot of work to do,” the deputy health minister said.
Lustemberg noted that in 2016 there were 9,500 registered cases of voluntary abortions, 140 more cases than in 2015.
Despite the increase, the deputy health minister said that “the decline in birth rate is in no way related to the increase in voluntary abortions.”