Pregnancy-related complications, especially in rural areas and after a mother has been sent home after birth, have led to an 80% increase in maternal deaths from indirect causes.
Jamaica has faced significant challenges over the last several decades from political instability, poor economic development, migration of educated healthcare workers, and environmental disasters. Each of these challenges would be difficult to overcome alone; together, they have taken a very hard toll on Jamaica’s women. Pregnancy-related complications have resulted in a maternal mortality increase from roughly 59/100,000 to 110/100,000 live births.((http://www.who.int/gho/maternal_health/countries/en/#J))
Despite the difficult circumstances that many women face in Jamaica, there are some positive trends. Those mothers who can make it to places like the Victoria Jubilee Hospital are much safer than those who must access pregnancy-related care in more remote locations. Poverty is one of the key issues as well. Those who live in outlying areas cannot afford to remain in town for extended periods of time. When they leave the hospital early, or cannot afford follow-up care, that is often when the pregnancy-related complications develop and lead to increase mortality. Even reporting is lacking, with an estimated 20% of all maternal mortality events not being properly reported.1
On the positive side, overall birth rates are declining, as are cause-specific maternal mortality events. Returning to the negative, unfortunately this means that pregnancy related complications have change from the most easily addressed issues to more complicated interactive causes. It will not be easy to reduce rates going forward without substantial changes.