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The Editorial Analysis: Saving Mothers


MMR in India: Relevance

  • GS 2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Maternal mortality rate: Context

  • Recently, PLOS Global Public Health has published a report that casts a shadow over the progress of health care targeting women in the country.


Maternal mortality rate: Key points

  • The study also questions the reliability of India’s periodic estimates of maternal mortality ratio (MMR).


What is MMR?

  • MMR is the number of mothers who die from complications in pregnancy for every one lakh live births.
  • Maternal mortality indicates a woman’s ability to access health care, contraceptive devices, nutrition, and, is a mark of the efficiency of a health-care system in responding to demands made of it.


The Editorial Analysis: Saving Mothers_2.1


MMR in India

  • International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) took data from routine records of maternal deaths under the Health Management Information System, with Census data and the Sample Registration System (SRS), and provided the MMR for all States and districts of India.
  • 70% of districts in India have reported MMR above 70 deaths — a target under the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
  • Many of the districts in southern India and Maharashtra have an MMR of less than 70.
  • The north-eastern and central regions have the least number of districts with an MMR less than 70.
  • Significantly, it also demonstrates the presence of huge within-State inequalities, even among the better performers — Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana.
  • According to the SRS (2016-18), only Assam (215) has an MMR of more than 200, while in this district-level assessment, the indications are that about 130 districts have reported above 200 MMR.


The Editorial Analysis: Saving Mothers_3.1


MMR in India: Way forward

  • The high MMR is an indication of the inadequacy of responsiveness of health systems. So, immediate action is required to meet the SDG goal regarding MMR.
  • Improvements in access to contraceptives, antenatal care, post-delivery health care, body mass index, and the economic status, births in higher ages, will help reduce MMR.
  • Improving overall care for women, and keeping real time track of such crucial health data will benefit immensely in reducing MMR.


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