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The myopia of governments contributes to maternal mortality: dying from socioeconomic and physical distances
  1. Maria Teresa Ruiz Cantero1,
  2. Mercedes Carrasco-Portiño1,
  3. Eduardo Espinoza Fiallos2,
  4. Cristina Durán Sánchez2,
  5. Cristina de Sierra1
  1. 1Network of Research in Gender and Health, Health Institute Carlos III, Ministry of Health, Madrid, Spain
  2. 2Preventive Medicine and Public Health Area, University of Alicante, Alicante city, Spain
  3. 3Observatory of Public Politics and Health, University of El Salvador, San Salvador, El Salvador
  4. 4Medical School, University of El Salvador, San Salvador, El Salvador
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr M Teresa Ruiz Cantero
 Preventive Medicine and Public Health Area, University of Alicante, Campus San Vicente del Raspeig, Ap. 99 C.p 03080, San Vicente del Raspeig (Alicante), Spain; cantero{at}

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Geographical, socioeconomic and cultural factors contribute to high maternal mortality rates in developing countries

Most of the ministries of health in developing countries have declared that they intend to do everything in their power to reduce the high rates of maternal death. However, the lack of efficient public policies aimed at correcting this problem is undermining their intention. Maternal deaths are a bad visible indicator of a country’s development. The Millennium Development Goal number 5 aims to reduce maternal mortality by 75% between 1990 and 2015. To do so, its priority is to improve public hospital healthcare by qualifying the professionals that work there. Although this is undoubtedly a priority, equally important is trying to work out why up to 50% of birth deliveries do not take place in healthcare centres (especially in rural areas).

The physical distance between villages and healthcare centres can be used as a metaphor for other existing distances, such as the economic and cultural ones. Despite the existence of health centres with trained professionals to assist in deliveries, there are many obstacles to their use because of these economic and cultural issues as well as the physical distance. Thus seeing these problems, professionals and politicians who are not capable of …

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  • Funding: The Project of Maternal Mortality in El Salvador has been funded by the International Cooperation Unit 2006/2007 at the University of Alicante.

  • Competing interests: None.

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