India succeeds in achieving a sharp decline in maternity mortality ratio (MMR)

Dr.Yasmin Ali Haque recently spoke on the sample registration system (SRS) data that was released by registrar general of India. According to this data there has been a sharp decline in country’s maternal mortality ratio (MMR). According to him, Unicef’s country representative inIndia, nearly 1,000 fewer women are now dying of pregnancy-related complications each month as compared to the data of 2013.

According to his statement, there has been a decline of 22% in maternal mortality ratio, from 167 per 100,000 live births in 2013 to 130 in 2016.

Is this a satisfactory improvement?

Of course, it is a great achievement for India. It is extremely impressive that the rate of decline will enable India to meet its target for 2030. For those who do not know the target was to bring the rate down to fewer than 100 per 100,000 live births.

How do you think India has achieved this?

In India, saving a woman’s life depends on the family, community and healthcare facility. Therefore the declining rates prove that India has managed to make steady progress in these three areas.

The significant decline in maternal deaths is a proofof the change in people’s mind-set. It is bringing a change as to more pregnant women are now visiting a hospital and most families are now not okay about a woman delivering at home.

The quality of care has improved in remote localities and areas. Our country has adequately invested in training auxiliary nurses and mid-wives. This is a great achievement for India.

Another significant change that led to the decline in the rate of maternal death is the provision of transportation facility to the hospital and back.

What are the challenges for India ahead?

India’s data collection system is a huge merit for the nation. It is a huge cohort to be followed and India has managed to do it quite well. While nearly 80% women now deliver in a hospital, there still are a remaining 20% that do not go to the hospital.The challenge is to educate and motivate the remaining 20% to give birth in a hospital and nowhere else.