India’s Maternal Mortality Rate on a decline

By Rhythma Kaul

New Delhi: The maternal mortality rate (MMR) that highlights the number of mothers dying per 100,000 live births, may be on a decline, still about five women die every hour in India from complications developed during childbirth.

Most of these new mums succumb to heavy blood loss (post-partum haemorrhage).

The recent World Bank data puts the MMR for India reported in 2015 at 174 per 100, 000 live births, which is a significant decline from the 215 figure that was reported in 2010.

In absolute numbers, nearly 45,000 mothers die due to causes related to childbirth every year that accounts for 17% of such deaths globally.

The major cause— Post-Partum Haemorrhage is often defined as the loss of more than 500-1,000 ml of blood within the first 24 hours following childbirth.

The key to the progress of a country lies in reducing its maternal and child mortality and morbidity . Over the years, Government of India has taken many initiatives, and the improved health indicators are a result of that.

“After the launch of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in 2005, significant improvements have taken place in building the health infrastructure in the country,” said a senior health ministry official.

The visibility of NRHM, now called National Health Mission, is reflected in progress towards achieving targets for the reduction of Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), Total fertility Rate (TFR) and other indicators.

The Janani Surkasha Yojna (JSY) scheme has brought about a surge in institutional deliveries and huge financial uptakes in most states.

Launch of Janani- Shishu Suraksha Katyakram (JSSK) in 2011 has further strengthened maternal health initiatives by entitling free deliveries and Caesarean-Sections to every pregnant woman coming for deliveries at government health facility.

The transport from the health facility, drop back and any referrals between facilities is also free for pregnant women coming to government health facility.

This ensures nil out of pocket expenditure for the women and their families. Even the sick newborns are treated free without any expense on diagnostics, drugs, consumables, diet, transport, etc.

The JSY and JSSK programmes have incentivised pregnant women to access healthcare in greater numbers.

Last year, heath ministry launched an innovate scheme to provide free health check-ups to pregnant women at government health centres and hospitals by private doctors under The Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan.

Popularly referred to as ‘I pledge for 9’ that was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his monthly radio address Mann Ki Baat on June 9, invites the private sector to provide free ante-natal services (ANC) on the 9th of every month on a voluntary basis to pregnant women, especially those living in underserved, semi-urban, poor and rural areas.

“More than 2 lakh high-risk check-ups have happened under the scheme and we expect to cover many more in future. We are happy with the results as our rate of improvement is faster than other countries,” said JP Nadda, Union health minister.

Top 5 worst countries for mothers (MMR)

*Sierra Leone- 1360

*Central African Republic- 882

*Chad- 856

*Nigeria- 814

*South Sudan- 789

Top 5 best countries for mothers (MMR)

* Finland; Iceland; Greece; Poland – 3

*Austria; Belarus; Czech Republic; Kuwait; Sweden- 4

*Japan; Spain; Switzerland; Israel; Norway- 5

*Australia; Denmark; Germany; Slovakia; United Arab Emirates- 6

*Belgium; Canada; Cyprus- 7

Where India stands in WHO’s East Asia Region (MMR)

*Bangladesh- 176

*Bhutan- 148

*Democratic People’s Republic of Korea- 82

*India- 174

*Indonesia- 126

*Maldives- 68

*Myanmar- 178

*Nepal- 258

*Sri Lanka- 30

*Thailand- 20

*Timor-Leste- 215

(Source: World Bank, Unicef)

Source: Hindustan Times

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