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Maternal Health

No woman should die giving life. Despite the fact that maternal mortality figures have decreased worldwide, reducing by 45% since 1990, there are still persistent challenges that cause complications for women both during pregnancy and during childbirth. Around 289,000 women die unnecessarily each year, which represents about 800 women a day. Every death counts and not a single one should be in vain.
Maternal mortality is still significantly higher in Caribbean countries than in developed regions. In most Caribbean countries, the ratio is between 27 (Barbados) and 169 (Guyana) maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Only Ten countries in the English and Dutch speaking Caribbean have data on maternal mortality with five countries identified at or above the SDG target of 70. These are The Bahamas (70), Jamaica (80), Saint Lucia (117), Suriname (120) and Guyana (169). Lifestyle-related non-communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes as well as HIV are the main causes of maternal deaths in the Caribbean. However, the region might witness, in the near future, an increase in preventable maternal deaths, most likely related to unsafe abortions, if the high levels of adolescent pregnancy rates are not effectively addressed 
UNFPA has the necessary mechanisms to work together with the countries that are in a position to review or update national protocols and offer the necessary care to save the lives of millions of girls, youth and women, through the preparation or adaptation of prevention and study plans to train physicians, nurses, midwives, and other health care providers, and incorporate emergency obstetric and neonatal care into pre-service training programs.
Every day, HIV changes the lives of 2,400 young people between the ages of 15 and 24 forever. Women and young people are the most vulnerable population because they do not have access to resources that allow them to make decisions that can save their lives. Globally, an estimated 5 million young people are living with HIV.
Prevalence is significantly higher among key population groups such as transgender people, gay men, substance users, sex workers and other men who have sex with men. Some groups have been particularly left behind. More than half of transgender women surveyed by a study in Jamaica were found to be living with HIV. The vulnerability of transgender people to HIV infection and other health threats is exacerbated by the intersecting factors of transphobia, social exclusion, gender-based violence, and stigma and discrimination.  

Migration and intra-regional movement in the Caribbean pose challenges for the HIV response in the English and Dutch-speaking Caribbean. A swift and significant inflow of Venezuelan refugees and migrants has impacted health systems and HIV prevention programmes, especially in Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana. Often, the HIV-related needs of migrant groups are not adequately comprehended and therefore not fully addressed or integrated in health-care budgets and programming. Other challenges to implementation include (i) inadequate levels of condom use at last sex with a non-regular partner among young men (aged 15-24 years); this ranged from 67 per cent in Belize to 79 per cent in Jamaica; (ii) early and forced initiation of sex and low level of knowledge about HIV prevention increase the vulnerability of adolescents; and (iii) The Bahamas and Barbados were the only countries providing pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) through the public health system in 2018. Jamaica and Suriname have PrEP available through private providers only.
Discriminatory attitudes of health workers also affect people at risk (particularly most at risk groups) and living with HIV, resulting in poor health-seeking behaviours among this group and driving an increase in rates of infection, including among young people. In 2016 one-third of new HIV infections in the Caribbean consisted of young people aged 15-24. UNFPA develops programs aimed at young people, adolescents and women throughout the region, ensuring that they have access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services
It is proven that maternal mortality in developing countries can be reduced rapidly with the necessary political and financial support, coupled with effective approaches.