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Kerala best Indian state in reducing maternal deaths

Jul 02, 2018

On a promising note, three Indian states have already achieved SDG targets on Maternal Mortality Rate.

New Delhi: India has made impressive progress in reducing maternal deaths and achieving the targets of MDG 5. Nearly 1000 fewer women are now dying of pregnancy-related complications each month as compared to 2013.

Kerala has emerged as the best state in reducing Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR). Three Indian states including Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have achieved SDG targets on MMR by reducing the latter to less than 70 per 1,00,000 live births way before the stipulated deadline of 2030.

India’s efforts at improving access to maternal health services leading to increase in institutional births have significantly contributed to groundbreaking reduction in MMR by 22 percent from 2013 levels. Emphasis on mitigating the social determinants of maternal health like increase in girl’s education and reduction in child marriages are other enabling factors that contributed to this notable success.

Indian Health Minister J P Nadda conferred awards to the states that have shown an exemplary decline in MMR as per the recently released SRS data. “In just 23 months, we have achieved 1.3 crore antenatal check-ups at 12,900 healthcare facilities across the country. And we also identified 6.5 lakh high-risk pregnancies,” he said.

Nadda stated that India’s strength lies in the fact that whatever programme it has taken up it becomes the largest in the world. He added that India has made substantial progress on several indicators in spite of its huge numbers and challenging topography. “We have taken up those programmes which will have far-reaching impacts. We must also appreciate that Uttar Pradesh with 30% decline has topped the chart in the reduction of maternal deaths,” he said.

Nadda said that India has shown impressive gains with 22% reduction in MMR since 2013. “Providing quality services to over 2 crore pregnant women in India required amalgamation of far reaching vision, policy and implementation at the ground level,: he said.

“One of our biggest achievements is that the program has been successful in reaching out to difficult and some of the remotest areas of the country. Of 1.3 crores medical check-ups conducted as part of the campaign, more than 25 lakh were in the high-priority districts identified by the Health ministry for focused attention,” Nadda added.

Anupriya Patel, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, said that constant innovations have been the hallmark of PMSMA. She also congratulated all the stakeholders, especially frontline functionaries for their commendable work.

Vinod Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, said that reduction in MMR is remarkable and it’s absolutely phenomenal. “Some states have achieved three-fourth reduction. Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand registered a huge decline. India succeeded in achieving MDG 4 and MDG 5. I congratulate all the stakeholders,” Vinod Paul said.

Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) launched in the year 2016 is a mission in advancing India’s course of achieving Sustainable Development Goals for MMR below 70 by 2030. Since the launch of PMSMA, over 1.30 crore antenatal checks ups have been conducted by public sector obstetrician-gynecologists and voluntary participation of over 5000 private and in rural, urban and hard to reach government health facilities.

This has resulted in identifying more than 650,000 high risk pregnancies, considered to be a major contributor in preventable maternal deaths. Strengthening the mission’s objectives, around 13000 government healthcare facilities like PHCs, CHCs and District Hospitals are providing PMSMA services on 9th of every month. The mission is proving to be a successful scalable effort by the government to facilitate positive engagement between the public and private healthcare providers to achieve the SDG targets.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi through his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme urged private sector doctors to dedicate 12 days in a year to safe motherhood and provide voluntary services under PMSMA on the 9th of every month.

Modi envisaged that 9th of every month symbolizing 9 months of pregnancy should be dedicated to addressing gaps in maternal health services particularly in hard to reach and rural areas. The mission ensures that every pregnant woman registered under PMSMA receives free, comprehensive and quality antenatal care services in their second and third trimesters across India.

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