Maternal mortality in times of pandemic – 02/23/2021 – Opinion

In July 2020, two scientific studies confirmed what many Brazilian women have known since the Zika virus epidemic: being pregnant, poor and black during a health emergency is being invisible, not having the right to quality health care and dying for it .

The International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics reported that 124 pregnant and postpartum women (postpartum) died in Brazil due to issues related to Covid-19 between February and June, which corresponds to 77% of these deaths worldwide.

The scientific journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, at the University of Oxford, concluded that the probability of a black woman and pregnant woman dying for Covid-19 is 17%, while among white women it is 8.9%. Other available studies suggest that pregnant women with Covid-19 symptoms are at increased risk of more serious illness compared to non-pregnant women.

In January of this year, the National Plan for the Operationalization of Vaccination against Covid-19, from the Ministry of Health, which until then contraindicated the administration of vaccines for pregnant women, puerperal women and lactating mothers, included them as a “special group” and advised that they should be informed about vaccine efficacy and safety data and that their decision, together with the health professional, should consider, among other factors, the level of potential virus contamination in the community. The plan also created new priority groups, but pregnant women, puerperal women and lactating women were left out.

The model was updated in February, but maintained the same guidelines. The Brazilian Society of Pediatrics (SBP) and Febrasgo (Brazilian Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics Associations) issued technical documents clarifying that inactivated virus vaccines, such as Coronavac and Astrazeneca / Oxford, are similar to immunizers that were previously recommended for women. pregnant women, such as the flu vaccine.

They recommend that, due to the risk of major complications presented by pregnant women / mothers of the groups that until now are defined as priorities, they can be vaccinated. Thus, with the objective of making women’s rights more visible and broadening the debate on this topic, the Centers for the Promotion and Defense of the Rights of Women of the Public Defenders of 16 states sent a letter to the Ministry of Health questioning what scientific evidence supported the decision not to include this group as a priority in the national vaccination plan, despite the same portfolio, since April 2020, considering them as a risk group for Covid-19.

Ensuring women’s health effectively involves the perspective that the care provided to pregnant women and women who have recently given birth is based on science, but it also requires that we not be silent in the face of the preventable deaths of the most vulnerable women.

TRENDS / DISCUSSIONS

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