Maternal Deaths, Cover Story 27 February

Maternal Deaths

News Kashmir Analysis

Maternal Deaths is an issue of grave concern. Every two minutes, a woman dies during pregnancy or childbirth, according to the latest estimates released in a report by United Nations agencies today. This report, Trends in maternal mortality, reveals alarming setbacks for women’s health over recent years, as maternal deaths either increased or stagnated in nearly all regions of the world.

“While pregnancy should be a time of immense hope and a positive experience for all women, it is tragically still a shockingly dangerous experience for millions around the world who lack access to high quality, respectful health care,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). “These new statistics reveal the urgent need to ensure every woman and girl has access to critical health services before, during and after childbirth, and that they can fully exercise their reproductive rights.”

The report, which tracks maternal deaths nationally, regionally and globally from 2000 to 2020, shows there were an estimated 287 000 maternal deaths worldwide in 2020. This marks only a slight decrease from 309 000 in 2016 when the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) came into effect. While the report presents some significant progress in reducing maternal deaths between 2000 and 2015, gains largely stalled, or in some cases even reversed, after this point.

The silver lining amid dark clouds is that there is good news from India. per the Special Bulletin on MMR released by the Registrar General of India (RGI), the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of India has improved further by a spectacular 6 points and now stands at 97/ lakh live births.

On the regional level, Assam continues to have the highest MMR (195) but has improved its own performance over the years.

In 2014-2016, the northeastern state’s MMR was at a dangerously high 237 deaths per one lakh live births. This has improved significantly over the years to 229 in 2015-2017, 215 in 2016-2018 and 205 in 2017-2019, showed the data released November 28, 2022.

One hopes India and world is able to deal with the grave issue of maternal deaths.

To tackle maternal deaths, women need quality, respectful healthcare before, during and after pregnancy and childbirth.

It is worth mentioning here that India recorded the second highest number of maternal deaths in 2020, coming second at 24,000 to only Nigeria which saw 82,000 maternal deaths in the pandemic year. However, there has been an overall reduction of 73.5 per cent in maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in India — deaths per lakh live births .