Ganpathi Bhatt (Akola)
This refers to the editorial ‘Mother care’ (IE, January 2). The maternal mortality rate in India, which was once embarrassingly high, has been reduced, thanks to the concerted efforts of the government and health volunteers. That the states with the most dismal records have marched ahead means that the difference in the standards of maternal care between the best- and the worst-governed states has reduced. This also means that the Centre’s efforts have rightly been directed at the states that need its attention the most. Much more needs to be done now. Poverty, illiteracy, lack of awareness, lack of adequate transport facilities in rural India, insufficient emergency drugs — all these factors contribute to the continuing ordeal of the pregnant woman. All is still not well with our primary health centres. In spite of the best efforts of the government, our villages lack trained doctors and nurses. Pregnant women still have to depend on untrained midwives.