By Arré Bench Jul. 17, 2020
As India becomes the third worst-hit country by Covid-19 cases, there is a small glimmer of hope. According to reports, India’s maternal mortality ratio has dropped by an excellent 7.4 per cent in 2016-18. Kerala and Maharashtra lead the way.
As India becomes the third worst-hit country by Covid-19 cases, there is a small glimmer of hope. According to the Sample Registration System’s (SRS) estimate released by the Registrar General of India on Thursday, India’s maternal mortality ratio has dropped by an excellent 7.4 per cent in 2016-18. In 2015-17, the figure stood at 122; in 2016-18, it dropped down to 113.
Maternal mortality ratio is defined as the number of maternal deaths per 1,00,000 live births. It is used as a human development index to indicate the level of access young mothers have to healthcare.
— Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) July 17, 2020
However, India still has some way to go before attaining the World Health Organisation’s Sustainable Development Goals. The website states that the aim is to “reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100 000 live births” by 2030.
Another progressive step towards the attainment of #SDG3 as the Maternal Mortality Ratio(MMR) in India has declined to 113 in 2016-18, according to the special bulletin on Maternal Mortality in India 2016-18. A few miles to go to make it to 70. @morningclubaxom @SDGoals
— Achyut Krishna Hazarika (@AchyutKrishnaH2) July 17, 2020
The state-wise break-up of maternal mortality rate seems unsurprising: Kerala came out tops with a MMR of 43 (even though the figure has gone up since the last assessment). Maharashtra was a close second with 46, while Tamil Nadu scored a distant 60. Along with Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, the five states are the only ones – of 28 states and 8 Union Territories – to achieve the WHO’s goal.
Death of a mother & death of a child, are the biggest tragedies in life. Maternal morality ratio(MMR) for 100,000 live births in India, reduced by more than half- from 254 (2004-06) to 113 (2016-18). Data released today, by Office of Registrar General of India. pic.twitter.com/70UhCYMhdw
— Job Zachariah (@jobzachariah) July 16, 2020
The states bringing up the rear are Assam (215) and Bihar (149), as well as Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.
Still, for some organisations, involved with poverty alleviation and educating the girl child, the reduction in maternal mortality ratio came as a breath of fresh air.
This is seriously good news to cheer! We @naandi_india feel good that our early work in tribal areas like #Araku have contributed a tiny bit to the reduction of MMR. It is sad that women should die while at a biological process. https://t.co/InppXqmn6U
— Manoj Kumar (@manoj_naandi) July 17, 2020
Some took it as an opportunity to berate Himanta Biswa Sarma, health minister of Assam, the state with the highest maternal mortality ratio.
@himantabiswa hello Sir, MMR in Assam is 215. India avg is 113. Policies are there, but bcz of poor implementation and corruption Assam is far behind. U should look into this. In every aspect we are behind. Education, health, job, business, agriculture etc.
— Shashanka Sharma (@shashankas42) July 17, 2020
Everyone knows that the road is a long one. To be able to reduce India’s maternal mortality ratio, we have to look at whether India is safe for childbirth, and how to mitigate the risks posed by
In light of India’s continuing efforts to reduce maternal mortality and make childbirth safer for women, this article explores why government hospitals continue to be dangerously unhygienic, posing serious risk of infection to patients in maternity wards and labor rooms. https://t.co/8mcA8dbunG
— Anup Soans (@anupsoans) July 16, 2020
However, a sobering Guardian report from a few days ago pointed out toward a surge in unsafe abortions thanks to Covid-19. The abortions are one of the drivers of maternal mortality ratio.
Cost of COVID for women – In India “lockdown disruption could leave 25.6 million couples unable to access contraception, leading to an additional 2.3 million unintended pregnancies and 834,042 unsafe abortions”, the main cause of maternal mortality. #SRHRhttps://t.co/bbLb9rTupM
— Lucy Stevens (@lucyfjstevens) July 14, 2020
“The coronavirus pandemic,” states the report, “has put huge strain on India’s health system, and women’s reproductive rights have taken a particular hit. Travel restrictions, the diversion of public healthcare towards Covid-19, the closure of private clinics and disruptions in medical supply chains have meant that women have been unable to receive timely care… Unsafe abortions are the third leading cause of maternal deaths in India.”
Another report points out that the large-scale disruption of essential services might undo the gains of two decades, and “leave more than 4 million women without access to facility-based deliveries”. “As a result of disruptions in essential services, child mortality in India could increase by 40 per cent and maternal mortality by 52 per cent over the next year.”
Hopefully, the pandemic hasn’t set us back too much. For now, the dip in MMR is reason to cheer.