World Health Assembly continues with report on women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health, discussion on impacts of climate change – PAHO/WHO

Geneva, May 25, 2023 (PAHO/WHO) – Discussions on important issues for countries in the Americas continue at the 76th World Health Assembly, being held this week (May 21-30) in Geneva, Switzerland .

On May 24, a progress report on the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016-2030) was presented, urging countries to increase their investments in planning interventions family and routine postnatal care for women and newborns to reduce and infant mortality.

The report highlights that in most parts of the world – with the exception of Southeast Asia – maternal and child mortality rates have either stagnated or increased. The majority of these deaths are preventable and result from a lack of access to sexual and reproductive health services, as well as antenatal care.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, nearly 8,400 women die each year from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth, with a disproportionate impact on poor women and those from ethnic minorities. About 9 in 10 of these deaths are preventable.

During the discussion, the countries of the Americas highlighted the importance of resuming progress towards maternal mortality following the COVID-19 pandemic, with particular emphasis on women from vulnerable populations as well as the strengthening of initiatives to mental health for adolescents.

The WHO Global Strategy provides countries with a roadmap to end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths, including stillbirths, by 2030, and to improve their health and general well-being.

During a strategic roundtable on the role of the health community in climate action, which also took place on May 24 and included interventions from COP28 CEO Adnan Z. Amin and the first US Presidential Envoy for climate John Kerry, participants highlighted the intrinsic link between climate change and health.

In recent decades, climate change has led to an increase in extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and floods, as well as an increase in infectious and vector-borne diseases.

This is of particular concern in the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Caribbean, which are at the forefront of the impact of climate change in the region, but which contribute a relatively small percentage of greenhouse gas emissions, one of the main drivers of global warming.

During the roundtable, participants stressed that health should be a powerful argument to advance the call to action in response to climate change in the run-up to COP28.

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