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India has shown Impressive Gains in Reduction of Maternal Mortality

Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) has significantly declined in India as nearly one thousand fewer women now die of pregnancy related complications each month in the country according to the recently released Sample Registration System (SRS) bulletin – 2016, India has shown impressive gains in reduction of Maternal Mortality with 22% reduction in since 2013. MMR of India has declined from 167 in 2011-2013 to 130 in 2014-2016. The decline has been most significant in Empowered Action Group (EAG) States (Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Rajasthan) and Assam from 246 to 188. Among the Southern States, the decline has been from 93 to 77 and in the other States from 115 to 93. Uttar Pradesh with 30% decline has topped the chart in the reduction of Maternal Deaths. Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have already met the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target for MMR of 70 per 100,000, while Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are within striking distance.

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda attribute this milestone to joint efforts of Centre and states and on June 6, 2018 said, “The latest SRS figures reveal that we have gone beyond the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of MMR of 139 by 2015 and have reached 130.” This is the result of the strategic approach of the Government and major initiatives under the umbrella of National Health Mission, such as:

Mission Indradhanush (MI), a Central government initiative launched on December 25,  2014 with an aim to immunize all children under the age of 2 years, as well as all pregnant women, against seven vaccine preventable diseases.

Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 8, 2017 that aims to reach each and every child under the age of two years and all those pregnant women who have been left uncovered under the routine immunisation programme. The special drive will focus on improving immunisation coverage in select districts and cities to ensure full immunisation to more than 90% by December 2018. Prime Minister said while launching, “Let no child suffer from any vaccine-preventable disease”.

Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) launched on June 1, 2011, which provides for free transport and care for pregnant women and entitles pregnant women delivering in public health institution absolutely free and no expense delivery including Caesarean section. Initiative stipulates free drugs, diagnostics, blood and diet.

Millennium Development Goal (MDG)  focus on Improving maternal health, which is key to saving the lives of more than half a million women who die as a result of complications from pregnancy and childbirth each year. Almost all these deaths could be prevented if women in developing countries had access to adequate diets, safe water and sanitation facilities, basic literacy and health services during pregnancy and childbirth. Hunger and malnutrition have been found to increase both the incidence and the fatality rate of the conditions that cause up to 80 percent of maternal deaths.

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