In a press conference, Portal explained that the current pandemic raised the risk of death for pregnant women and newborns globally, a situation Cuba was not exempt from.
In the Americas alone, over 365,000 Covid-19 pregnant women have been reported, and more than 3,000 of them passed away, Portal added.
In 2021, Portal asserted that 175 pregnant women died in Cuba, 127 of them due to indirect causes and within those, 93 due to Covid-19 related issues.
As a result, Cuba´s mortality rate ramped up to 176.6 per 100,000 live births at the end of 2021; however, since October 21, 2021, no pregnant woman has died of Covid-19, he added.
In this regard, Portal stressed the country made a decision to vaccinate pregnant women with home-grown vaccines and, in addition, it was possible to mitigate serious and critical maternal morbidity due to coronavirus. At the end of June 2022, the maternal mortality rate was 34.8 per 100,000 live births, accounting for the death of 16 pregnant women.
Regarding infant mortality rate (IMR), Portal pointed out the figure of 7.6 per 1,000 live births reported in 2021 means the survival of 992.4 infants per 1,000 who reached 12 months of age.
“The survival of children in this period has increased in Cuba by 7.9 times since the triumph of the Revolution in 1959,” Portal highlighted.
At the end of June, Cuba´s IMR was 7.3 per 1,000 live births.
He warned that Cuba currently has several risk factors for newborns and pregnant women, including the low birth weight rate and teen pregnancies.
In total, he said, 17% of all births in Cuba are women under the age of 20, and such a figure is currently growing significantly in several provinces.
“It is top priority for our health system to mitigate maternal mortality, which implies physicians and nurses be more and better trained in hemorrhages and preeclampsia, major causes of maternal death; although other factors should not be neglected”, said Portal.