WASHINGTON, Feb 14, CMC – The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) says 6,000 women die from pregnancy-related causes each year in the Americas, including the Caribbean.
In its latest document shedding light on the health situation in the region, PAHO also noted that as many as 163,700 infants also die annually.
PAHO said that its compendium, produced annually, presents the regional health organization’s most recent data from 49 countries and territories on the demographic and socioeconomic situation of the Americas, the population’s health status, risk factors, and coverage of health care services and health systems.
“Indicators are an essential element in the production of evidence in health to inform decision making,” said PAHO Director, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne.
The Dominican-born PAHO official said that such evidence means that “decision-making will be better informed and lead to increased opportunities for more effective interventions that have a greater impact on health outcomes”.
The PAHO document notes that non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and stroke are the main causes of death in the Americas.
Region wide, the report states that death rate from non-communicable diseases is 427.6 people per 100,000 population, which is seven times higher than the death rate from communicable (infectious) diseases, at 59.9 people per 100,000 population.
With regard to infectious diseases, in 2017, Latin America and the Caribbean reported 580,000 cases of dengue, more than 31,000 cases of leprosy, and more than 13,800 cholera cases.
The HIV diagnostic rate was 14.6 people per 100,000 population region wide; and, for every new HIV diagnosis among women, there were 3.6 HIV diagnoses among men.
PAHO says 13 per cent of adolescents consume tobacco, a percentage that varies across countries from a low of 3.8 percent in Canada to 25 per cent in Chile and Dominica.
It said high blood pressure affects 21 per cent of men and 15 per cent of women in the region, while diabetes mellitus affects nine per cent of men and eight percent of women.
Public expenditure on health as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) is five per cent on average, below the six per cent recommended by PAHO’s Strategy for Universal Access to Health and Universal Health Coverage.