One of the riskiest places to give birth in Mexico is the state of Oaxaca, in Southern Mexico. If on a national level 50.2 women out of 100,000 die in childbirth, in Oaxaca it is 78.9 women, according to 2011 numbers from the Government of Oaxaca.
62.5% of maternal deaths happen in medical units. 51% of those who died spoke an indigenous language and 20% couldn’t read nor write.
According to an assessment made by the Government of Oaxaca and with technical help from the World Bank, pregnant women don´t receive the necessary care on time because of a lack of information, cultural barriers, the relative low quality of medical services or because, in many cases, there is no easy access to health centers.
Oaxaca also has a major problem with water delivery. While almost 87% of the population in the whole of Mexico has running water, only 69% can say so in Oaxaca. Instead, they have to buy water from different distributors that bring it in trucks.
Maternity health and water delivery are just two of the most pressing development issues in Oaxaca. Compared to national standards, the impact of public policies and investments as well as public service delivery, are insufficient in the state, one of the poorest in the country.
A partnership for development
This is the reason why Oaxaca partnered a year ago with the World Bank to address challenges in crucial areas like forestry, education, or in sectors like water delivery, maternity health, or public investment.
Through assessments, sharing of best practices and methodologies, workshops, and through the reinforcement of institutional and sector planning, the World Bank and the State of Oaxaca expect to increase the impact of public investments, so that citizens have an improved quality of life.
After 12 months of this collaboration with 23 activities, offering a broad range of services, including knowledge, convening and financial services in different areas, the State is developing a strategy to modernize and increase the coverage and quality of water services. In the next few years the Bank will provide technical and possibly financial support, for the strategy’s implementation.
With a methodology proposed by the World Bank, the State has also established ways to improve the management and quality of public expenditure and designed strategic plans for roads, housing, water, forest, agriculture and livestock.
Mobilizing key players
The World Bank helped mobilize key decision leaders (Federal Ministry of Health and the National Commission of Social Protection in Health, the National Center for Gender Equity and Reproductive Health as well as NGOs ), and create the steering committee that directed the technical team in charge of the situations’ assessment.
Based on that assessment, a pilot strategy was formulated to reduce maternal deaths in the State. The plan includes training medical staff to manage obstetric emergencies, distribution of information on women rights to receive maternal health services, raising awareness on the care available and on the risks; and increasing the availability of family planning services.
Moreover, in the development of different actions in various sectors, the World Bank has used its convening power to facilitate and bring efforts together from other development agencies (IDB, UNDP, United Nations Population Fund, Water Integrity Network), but also from private foundations and social society in general (Mac Arthur Foundation, Mexican Transparency).
Assisting the state in addressing these complex development challenges, among others, by providing technical and financial support, and by bringing stakeholders together, the idea is to contribute to the start of a sustainable development in Oaxaca for years to come.