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Uttar Pradesh has highest maternal mortality: Unicef

The high rate of maternal mortality in India is not evenly spread with UP reporting the maximum number of deaths and Kerala the least.

The high rate of maternal mortality in India are not evenly spread across the country with Uttar Pradesh reporting the maximum number of deaths and Kerala the least.

While in Uttar Pradesh,a woman has one in 42 lifetime risks of maternal death,the probability is just one in 500 in Kerala.

Moreover,in India one woman dies of complications related to childbirth every seven minutes.

During 2001 and 2003,an estimated 78,000 women died annually from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth,according to the UNICEF’s ‘State of the World’s Children’ (SOWC) report of 2009.

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Similarly,in the case of neo-natal deaths,Uttar Pradesh is among the top five.

Orissa is at the top of the list with 52 deaths per 1,000 live births closely followed by Madhya Pradesh at 51 deaths. Uttar Pradesh has 46 deaths,Rajasthan has 45 and Chhattisgarh has 43,the report said.

Patterns of neo-natal deaths also correlate closely to maternal death. Babies whose mothers die during the first six weeks of their lives are more likely to die in the first two years of life than babies whose mothers survive.


The average lifetime risk of a woman in a least developed country dying from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth is more than 300 times greater than for a woman living in an industrialised country.

Every year,at least six million children in India are born with low birth weight and only one in four children are breast fed within an hour of birth.

Also,the number of children with low birth weight of less than 2.5 kg was higher at 23 per cent in rural areas than the 19 per cent of urban areas,the report which was released in Delhi on Tuesday said.


The percentage of low birth weight children had reduced marginally from 21 per cent to 19 per cent in urban areas,but in the villages,there was no such reduction.

Percentage of children who were breast fed within an hour of birth had increased from 19 per cent to 23 per cent,according to the Unicef’s report.

Nearly 80 per cent of causes of neonatal deaths like Diarrhoea,Tetanus and Asphyxias could have been prevented through vaccination or good hygiene,it said.

Regarding intervals between two consecutive births,India recorded a low average of 31 months which adversely affect mothers’ health and children’s chances of survival.

In fact,India had the lowest interval between children in South Asia after Bangladesh (39),Indonesia (54) and Nepal at (34).


There has also been a marginal increase in the number of institutional deliveries with the figure climbing up from 34 per cent in 20098 to 41 per cent in 2006.

First published on: 20-01-2009 at 10:32 IST
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