Monday, June 13, 2011

How structural violence impacts maternal health

'“When unjust systems or structures prevent people from achieving good health, and from achieving good lives, this is structural violence in action,” says Donna Barry, Director of Policy and Advocacy for Partners In Health (PIH).

In an article entitled “Structural Violence: A Barrier to Achieving the MDGs for Women,” published recently in the Journal of Women’s Health (JWH), PIH Medical Director Joia Mukherjee, Barry, and several other co-authors argue that maternal mortality continues to plague poor women in poor communities because public health interventions have not addressed the impact of structural violence. Drawing on examples from PIH’s work in Haiti and Lesotho, the authors also clearly demonstrate how women’s lives can be saved and transformed by programs that combine quality health care with determined efforts to uproot structural violence and the social determinants of disease, especially poverty, sexism, and gender-based violence.

In the late 1980s, 99 percent of the half million maternal deaths occurring each year took place in poor countries. Nearly a quarter century later, 350,000 women still die every year from pregnancy-related causes, the vast majority in the poor world. In a 2010 report on maternal mortality, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) found that complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading causes of death for 15-19 year old women and adolescent girls in developing countries.'

Read the complete article from Partners In Health

Watch the PIH video below on maternal global health delivery

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