Maternal mortality ratio, measured as the number of maternal deaths per lakh live births, varies among the Indian states from a high of 229 per lakh in Assam to a low of 42 in Kerala. This emerges out of the data in a Special Bulletin on Maternal Mortality in India 2015-2017 of the Sample Registration System, released on Wednesday.
Across the country, the maternal mortality ratio has declined from 130 during 2014-2016 to 122 during 2015-17. While the bulletin has flagged a 26.9% decrease since 2013 (from 167 in 2011-13 to 122 in the latest bulletin), the decline has been by more than half since 2004-06, when the ratio was 254.
Since maternal maternity ratio, or MMR, is calculated by dividing the number of maternal deaths in a given population during a period of time by the number of live births occurring in that period, it reflects the risk of maternal death relative to the number of live births. There is another measure, maternal mortality rate, which is calculated by dividing the average annual number of maternal deaths in a population by the average number of women of reproductive age alive in the same period. This rate reflects the risk of maternal death per pregnancy or per birth and the level of fertility in a population. The bulletin provides details of both measures.
For Assam, which recorded the highest MMR, the 229 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births is still an improvement from the 2014-16 MMR of 237. Uttar Pradesh (216), Madhya Pradesh (188), Rajasthan (186), Odisha (168), Bihar (165) and Chhattisgarh (141) follow. Among these states, the maternal mortality rate is the highest in Uttar Pradesh, at 20.1. Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and Assam follow with maternal mortality rates at 17.5, 16.9, 16.8 and 15.2 respectively.
Kerala has the lowest MMR, at 42. It is followed by Maharashtra (55), Tamil Nadu (63), Andhra Pradesh (74), Jharkhand (76) and Telangana (76). Kerala also has the lowest maternal mortality rate, at 1.9, followed by Maharashtra at 3.3.
According to the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the global target is to bring down the MMR to fewer than 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030.