Maternal Health in Bolivia, South America’s poorest country is alarming. Despite some efforts to improve the status of women, and their access to adequate health care, significant barriers remain. While women in urban areas have seen marked improvement,  the most vulnerable populations (rural and indigenous women) have seen very little progress.1. A voucher program to encourage increase health care access for rural and ethnic minority women was implemented in 2008. While significant number of women signed up for the vouchers, as of 2010, no official reports have noted success in reducing maternal mortality in Bolivia. Te program is jointly funded by the Bolivian government and the World Bank2. Even with the assistance, poverty, illiteracy and poor school enrollment contribute to the difficulty accessing healthcare services. Knowledge of sexual and reproductive health is especially low and contributes to maternal morality3.
bolivia_motherIt is even difficult to pin down an exact rate of maternal morality in Bolivia. The risk of maternal death varies quite widely per survey and when considering urban vs. rural settings. The lowest figure was reported 2008 with  180 deaths per 100,000 population4. This appears to have worsened somewhat. 2010 this figure increased to 190 deaths per 100,000 births5. While still high these figures are half what other surveys conclude.
During a similar time period the World Bank records 310 deaths per 100,000 births in their 2011 report and Amnesty International reports an increase from 230 deaths per 100,000 population in 2003 to 310 deaths per 100,000 births in 2008. Some organizations and government institutions criticized these figures, but the methodology of gathering data for the demographic health survey was consistent with other countries and previous reports67. Consistent with the higher figures a UN survey found an average of 290 deaths per 100,00 live births between 2003 and 20088

  1. http://www.unfpa.org/sowmy/resources/docs/library/R380_SilvaBatista_2010_BOLIVIA_MCH_Policies_Successes_and_failures-Silva_EN_2010.pdf 
  2. Anastasia Moloney, Bolivia tackles maternal and child deaths, The Lancet, August 8, 2009 
  3. Concluding comments of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Bolivia, 14 January-1 February 2008 
  4. Population Reference Bureau, The World’s Women and Girls, 2011, 19 October 2012, http://www.prb.org/pdf11/world-women-girls-2011-data-sheet.pdf 
  5. World Health Organization, World Health Statistics, Part III, Global Health Indicators, (Published 2012), (Accessed 1 June 2012),http://www.who.int/gho/publications/world_health_statistics/2012/en/ 
  6. The World Bank, World Development Report: Gender Equality and Development, The World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2011, 17 September 2012 
  7. Amnesty International, Amnesty International Reports 2011, 305, 2011, 5/22/2012, http://files.amnesty.org/air11/air_2011_countryreports_en.pdf 
  8. United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report: Gender Inequality Index, UNDP, Table 4, 2010, (Published Day Month, Year), (30 May, 2010),http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2010_EN_Table4_reprint.pdf 

  1. http://www.unfpa.org/sowmy/resources/docs/library/R380_SilvaBatista_2010_BOLIVIA_MCH_Policies_Successes_and_failures-Silva_EN_2010.pdf 

  2. Anastasia Moloney, Bolivia tackles maternal and child deaths, The Lancet, August 8, 2009 

  3. Concluding comments of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Bolivia, 14 January-1 February 2008 

  4. Population Reference Bureau, The World’s Women and Girls, 2011, 19 October 2012, http://www.prb.org/pdf11/world-women-girls-2011-data-sheet.pdf 

  5. World Health Organization, World Health Statistics, Part III, Global Health Indicators, (Published 2012), (Accessed 1 June 2012),http://www.who.int/gho/publications/world_health_statistics/2012/en/ 

  6. The World Bank, World Development Report: Gender Equality and Development, The World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2011, 17 September 2012 

  7. Amnesty International, Amnesty International Reports 2011, 305, 2011, 5/22/2012, http://files.amnesty.org/air11/air_2011_countryreports_en.pdf 

  8. United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report: Gender Inequality Index, UNDP, Table 4, 2010, (Published Day Month, Year), (30 May, 2010),http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2010_EN_Table4_reprint.pdf