The Afro-descendant women and girls from the American continent are more likely to die during childbirth, warned this Wednesday the Population Fund of the United Nations, the UN agency specializing in sexual and reproductive health.
In a new study, the UNFPA categorically refutes the argument that these deaths are due to the inability of this group to seek timely treatment, to having made poor lifestyle choices or to having hereditary predispositions. Instead, he notices a systemic and historical pattern of racist abuse in the healthcare sector on all continents.
From medical education to policy making and health service delivery, Afro-descendant women and girls are consistently neglected and abusedsays UNFPA, and details that the mistreatment they face when receiving medical care can include verbal and physical abuse, denial of quality care and denial of pain relief.
“Due, face increased complications during pregnancy and delays in interventions, all too often resulting in death,” the report added.
Among the key findings, UNFPA highlighted that people of African descent in general experience disproportionate levels of grievance in health settings, some of which is based on unscientific and racist beliefs dating back to slavery and that are still present in medical plans.
Negligent data collection
He also cited the structural negligence reflected in the data collection, specifying that only eleven of the 35 countries in the Americas have maternal health figures broken down by racewhile only six register maternal deaths classified by race.
Furthermore, only a third of the 32 national health plans surveyed by the agency identified Afro-descendants as a population that experiences barriers in the health sector.
The study indicates that of the countries with available data The United States has the largest difference in maternal mortality rates: Black women are three times as likely to die than whites during parturition or in the six weeks after delivery.
In Suriname, this probability rate is 2.5 times higher, while in Brazil and Colombia is 1.6 times greater. There are an estimated 209 million people of African descent in the Americas.
Racism is still present
The executive director of the UNEP affirmed that the scourge of racism continues to plague black women and girls in the Americas, where many of them are descendants of victims of slavery.
“Too often, Afro-descendant women and girls are abused and mistreated, their needs are not taken seriously and their families are torn apart by the preventable death of a loved one during childbirth. Justice and equality will only be possible when our health systems provide respectful and compassionate care to these women,” said Natalia Kanem.
The report underlines that the Higher income and education offer no more protection and specifies that maternal deaths among African-American college graduates in the United States are 1.6 times higher than among white women with a maximum of high school education.
Access to maternal care
Faced with this reality, UNFPA urges governments, international organizations, and the educational and health sectors to take measures to guarantee access to quality maternal care for women of African descent and thus reduce the high mortality rates motherhood among this population group.
Similarly, it calls on the relevant authorities to collect and analyze health data disaggregated by race and ethnicity; urges medical schools to end racist ideology in study and training plans; and urges hospitals to implement policies that end physical and verbal abuse against Afro-descendant women and girls.