3 years ago

Indigenous language and inequitable maternal health care, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and the Plurinational State of Bolivia.

Nancy Armenta Paulino, María Sandín Vázquez, Francisco Bolúmar
Latin America and the Caribbean still have high maternal mortality rates and access to health care is very uneven in some countries. Indigenous women, in particular, have poorer maternal health outcomes than the majority of the population and are less likely to benefit from health-care services. Therefore, inequities in maternal health between different ethnic groups should be monitored to identify critical factors that could limit health-care coverage. In adopting the United Nations' sustainable development goals, governments have committed to providing equitable and universal health coverage. It is, therefore, the right time to assess ethnic disparities in maternal health care. However, finding a standard method of identifying ethnicity has been difficult, because ethnicity involves several features, such as language, religion, tribe, territory and race. In this study, spoken indigenous language was used successfully as a proxy for ethnicity to detect inequities in maternal health-care coverage between indigenous and non-indigenous populations in four Latin American countries: Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and the Plurinational State of Bolivia. Although, quantifying ethnic inequities in health care is just a starting point, this quantification can help policy-makers and other stakeholders justify the need for monitoring these inequities. This monitoring is essential for designing more culturally appropriate programmes and policies that will reduce the risks associated with maternity among indigenous woman. As long as inequities persist, identifying them is an important step towards their elimination.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.2471/BLT.18.216184

DOI: 10.2471/BLT.18.216184

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