President Bachelet vows to reduce mortality rate for women, children

SANTIAGO – This week countries from Latin America and the Caribbean agreed to end preventable deaths among women, children and teenagers by 2030.

“We seek…to share experiences between our countries to move ahead with collaborative, efficient work,” said Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet at a summit organized by Chile and the UN, named “All the Women, All the Children, All the Teenagers of Latin America (2017-2030).”

The summit was attended by health ministers from across the region, as well as official from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

Bachelet said that “the objective is to position health and well-being at the objective of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals as well as in the development policies our countries are implementing.”

The president said that the main goal of this summit is to see countries sign up to the “Santiago Action Plan for a Global Strategy for the Health of Women, Children and Teenagers (2016-2030).” This plan includes a roadmap for countries to tackle the main health problems affecting these groups.

Around 196,000 children under five years old die annually in Latin America and the Caribbean, with 85 percent of them being under one year old, according to UNICEF data.

Teenagers also suffer from inequalities in access to health, employment and job opportunities, Bachelet said, noting that the region also has a very high rate of teenage pregnancy.

Causes of death among teenagers include homicide (24 percent), road accidents (20 percent) and suicide (7 percent), she added.

Bachelet also called on countries to mobilize resources and take actions to ensure nobody is left behind, especially women, children and teenagers, who are among the society’s most vulnerable groups.