Guatemala to move forward in reducing neonatal and maternal mortality with IDB support

Guatemala will invest $100 million to improve health care and reduce infant and maternal mortality 

The Inter-American Development Bank has approved a $100 million loan to Guatemala to improve health care and reduce morbimortality rates in some of the country's poorest regions. The project will allow for implementation of a strategy of essential neonatal obstetrical care aimed at improving health care for mothers and babies. In support of the health care system, the plan will put into place a grid to coordinate medical emergencies and provide supplies of blood products, while also setting up nationwide digital information systems. The infrastructure of the existing health care system will be boosted through investment in works and equipment.

The project will place priority on vulnerable departments such as Huehuetenango and San Marcos because they suffer from high incidence of maternal and infant health problems. Specifically, the plan calls for the construction of new clinics and hospitals in areas that are home to many rural and indigenous people and for improvement of services in existing health care facilities. It will also seek to improve maternal, neonatal and family planning services by focusing more on the entire pregnancy and neonatal cycle through essential obstetric and neonatal care at the three levels of the health care network. Finally, the project will allow for early identification of risk for child development and management of such scenarios, such as nutritional deficit, lack of immunization and incidence of major childhood diseases.

The goal of the investment is to reduce the maternal mortality rate in these two high priority departments from 137.2 deaths per 100,000 births down to 110, and the infant mortality rate from 14.8 to 13 children per 100,000 births. The plan also aims to expand timely prenatal health care coverage from the current 34.72% percent of the population of these departments to 50%, and that of births from 46.66% to 65% when the project concludes.

About the IDB

The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region. The IDB is the leading source of multilateral financing for Latin America and the Caribbean.

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Ignacio Astorga
Especialista líder en salud