Decline in MMR
Representational image | UNICEF India
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New Delhi: India’s maternal mortality ratio (MMR) has dropped by 7.4 per cent in 2016-18, but it is still almost double the Sustainable Development Goal target set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

India’s MMR in 2016-18 has been 113, which was 122 in 2015-17, according to the Sample Registration System’s (SRS) estimate released by the Registrar General of India Thursday.

Maternal mortality ratio is the number of maternal deaths per 1,00,000 live births. Since it is considered rare, deaths of three years are pooled together to get an estimate.

Also, since maternal deaths are mostly preventable, a high number of maternal deaths indicate inequities in accessing quality healthcare.

WHO’s Sustainable Development Goal is to reduce the global MMR to less than 70 by 2030. 

With a maternal mortality ratio of 113, India has missed the 2017 National Health Policy’s target of reducing the MMR to 100. 

Also read: In Budget 2020, govt sets agenda to revise motherhood age to curb maternal mortality

MMR of various states

At 215, Assam had the highest MMR in the country, followed by Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh with MMR of 197 and 173, respectively.

Kerala reported the lowest MMR of 43, followed by Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu with MMR of 46 and 60, respectively. Kerala’s MMR, however, has seen an increase since last time, as have that of West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Chhattisgarh.  

Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha have recorded the highest decline in MMR.

Five states — Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh — have achieved the WHO’s Sustainable Development Goal of reducing the MMR below 70. 

Eleven states — Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkahnd, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, West Bengal and Uttarakhand — have met the NHP target of reducing the maternal mortality ratio to 100.

Skilled care at birth can prevent maternal deaths

According to UNICEF, the major causes of maternal deaths are severe bleeding, infections, high blood pressure during pregnancy, and complications from delivery and unsafe abortions.

Access to antenatal care in pregnancy and skilled care during childbirth as well as support and care after childbirth can prevent maternal deaths.

In India, 78.9 per cent of all births occurred in healthcare institutions in 2015-16, almost double of what it was a decade ago, according to the National Family Health Survey-4.

Also read: Maternal mortality drops 22%, India meets UN millennium development goal


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