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AI: Burkinabe pregnant women bias deadly

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Pregnant women in Burkina Faso are dying because discrimination bars them from accessing health services, Amnesty International said Tuesday.

Amnesty International's report, "Giving Life, Risking Death," indicated many deaths during pregnancy and childbirth could be prevented if the women could access healthcare in a timely manner, the organization said in a release

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Burkina Faso government figures indicated more than 2,000 women die of complications arising during pregnancy and childbirth annually.

"Every woman has the right to life and the right to adequate healthcare, and the government should redouble its efforts to address preventable maternal death," Claudio Cordone, interim secretary-general of Amnesty International, said in a statement.

Most women in Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in the world, are subordinate to the men in their lives and have little or no control over key decisions, including medical, despite having equal status under Burkinabe law, Amnesty International said.

The Burkina Faso government has developed strategies that lowered maternal death rates in some parts of the country, Amnesty International said. However, the effort is undermined by spotty implementation and a lack of accountability among medical personnel.

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Amnesty International called on the country's government to expand and improve access to family planning services, remove financial barriers to maternal healthcare services, ensure an equitable distribution of health facilities and trained staff countrywide, and set up a well-publicized, and accessible accountability mechanism to combat corruption and mismanagement.

"Maternal death is a tragedy that robs thousands of families of wives, mothers, sisters and daughters each year," Cordone said. "So long as women are not allowed control over their own bodies, they will continue to die in their thousands."

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