Maternal deaths in India are on the rise. Latest data shows that every five minutes a woman dies due to complications from pregnancy and childbirth.
BELIEVE IT or not, one woman dies in every minute somewhere in the world
only due to complication related to pregnancy or childbirth and that counts to 6,00,000 a year. In India, every five minutes dies a woman and that counts to 1,30,000 a year.
In developed countries, the maternal mortality ratio is 27 per 1,00,000 live births. In India, it is 540. In developed countries a woman’s lifetime risk of dying from pregnancy related complication is one in 1800. In India, the ratio is one in 48.
Nothing too queer, because India
is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world where women are the highest neglected section in the society.
The result is while in a developing country, one in every three deaths of women in their reproductive years is due to complications from pregnancy and childbirth. 15 per cent of deaths of women in the reproductive age in India are maternal deaths. Among them, 50 per cent are within the age of 15-19 years die due to complications arising due to unsafe abortion.
In India, nearly seven million abortions, in legal or illegal method, take place annually. For every legal abortion, 10 are induced illegal abortions. Other major factors that cause to mothers’ deaths are hemorrhage, eclampsia, obstructed labor, sepsis and pre-existing conditions such as anemia and malaria. The studies show that 60 per cent of all maternal deaths occur after delivery. Yet, less than 17 per cent of women in India receive any postpartum care. Health facilities are available to only 34 per cent ladies and in rural areas three out of every four babies are born at home under unskilled personnel.
And here, the women have nothing to decide – to be pregnant or not, to abort the foetus or not and to deliver the baby at home or under proper treatment in hospitals. Statistics shows that only 52 per cent of Indian women are involved in decision-making on their own health care.
These factors are added with inadequate nutrition. The average weight of every Indian pregnant woman is nearly 50 percent less than the pregnant women in the developed countries. Only 60 per cent of rural women and 86 per cent of urban pregnant women in India receive antenatal checkups, 67 per cent receive two doses of TT vaccines and 48 per cent receive 100 Iron Folic acid tablets.
The consequences are serious. The negligence affects a lot – in families and in the society as well. The official documents show that one in every four adult women in developing countries suffers long or short-term illness due to pregnancy and childbirth. At least 30 per cent of the women develop chronic debilitating conditions, resulting into death. Between 58-80 per cent of pregnant women in developing countries develop acute health problems and 8-29 per cent develop chronic health problems because of pregnancy. This results into tremendous loss to the family, the children and the society as a whole where the women’s contributions are always unpaid and unnoticed.
Children who lose their mothers suffer the most. One study estimates that in some developing countries, the risk of death for children under five years doubles or triples if the mother dies. Other studies estimate that children whose mother have died are three to ten times more likely to die within two years than those who have both parents alive.
Nations are uprising. Globalisation has opened the door for fresh developments – both in thoughts and practice. Unfortunately, the world remains careless to the third world, as it has been always, particularly to the mothers, the most vital source of power of human civilisation. International conferences are held. Agendas are taken. NGOs are involved. But we forget as usual that maternal mortality is not just a health issue, it is an issue of human rights.