India’s maternal mortality rate declined by 8 points in one year from 130 per lakh live births in 2014-16 to 122 per lakh live births in 2015-17, registering a 6.2% decline.
“Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of India has declined by 8 points in one year as per the latest Special Bulletin on MMR released by the Registrar General of India. This decline is important as it translates to nearly 2,000 additional pregnant women saved annually,” said Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.
This decline, he added, means that India is on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target for reducing MMR by 2025, five years ahead of the timeline of 2030.
India recently launched the ‘Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan’ (SUMAN) programme for zero preventable maternal and newborn deaths. Over the last seven-eight years, certain initiatives have rapidly reduced infant and maternal mortality in the country.
Points to strength of health system
Maternal mortality rate is recognised the world over as one of the health parameters that show the robustness of a health system. The commonest causes of maternal mortality are infections, eclampsia and post-partum haemorrhage.
These include Mother and Child Tracking System, through which expecting mothers and health workers are tracked and informed about vaccinations and health checks, and Kilkari project, a mobile voice message service that delivers weekly messages to families about pregnancy, family planning, nutrition, childbirth and maternal and child care.
Eleven states have already achieved the ambitious target of MMR of 100 per lakh live births by 2020 set under the National Health Policy 2017. These states are Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Telangana, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Karnataka and Haryana. Seven states — Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, West Bengal, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana — have shown decline in MMR that is greater than or equal to the national average of 6.2%.