Consistent Improvement In Maternal Health Indicators

By Outlook Planet Desk April 13, 2023

India has succeeded in reducing its maternal mortality ratio (MMR), marking an important milestone 

Consistent Improvement In Maternal Health Indicators
The government has introduced a number of initiatives and programmes targeted at enhancing the quality of maternal healthcare . Tribhuvan Tiwari/Outlook

To raise awareness of excellent healthcare and safety for all mothers and expectant moms, the Ministries of Health & Family Welfare and Women & Child Development recently observed National Safe Motherhood Day on April 11. The purpose of the day is to highlight the enormous advancements made in the area of maternal health over time and to raise awareness of the significance of providing safe and compassionate maternity care. On this day, Kasturba Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi's wife, celebrates her birthday. She devoted her life to social issues and was a key figure in India's freedom struggle. 

The government has been working to enhance maternal health, and India has succeeded in achieving a significant milestone by reducing its maternal mortality rate (MMR) from 130 per 1,000 live births in 2014–16 to 97 per 1,000 live births in 2018–20. 

India has met the National Health Policy (NHP) target for MMR of less than 100/lakh live births and is on course to meet the SDG target of MMR less than 70/ lakh live births by 2030 thanks to this ongoing drop. 

NFHS surveys have recorded consistent improvements in Maternal Health Indicators. The percentage of mothers who had antenatal check-ups in the first trimester have increased from 58.6% in NFHS 4 to 70% in NFHS 5. About 88.6% women had institutional births, according to NFHS 5. Mothers who received postnatal care from a doctor, nurse, midwife within two days of delivery has gone up to 78% (NFHS5) from 62% in NFHS4. 

Interventions for Improving Maternal Health 

The government has introduced a number of initiatives and programmes targeted at enhancing the quality of maternal healthcare in the nation. For instance, the Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA), which was introduced in 2016, offers quality antenatal care to expectant mothers every ninth of the month at no cost to them. All pregnant women are entitled to services under the PMSMA, such as medications, lab tests, ultrasounds, and prenatal checkups. Over 3.94 Crore pregnant women have been examined under PMSMA 

Another programme, the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), went into force in 2017. It is a direct benefit transfer (DBT) programme wherein pregnant women receive cash benefits directly into their bank accounts to cover increased nutritional demands and partially make up for lost wages. 

By November 21, 2022, more than 3.11 crore beneficiaries had been enrolled and more than 2.77 crore beneficiaries had been paid more than Rs.12,150 crores as maternity benefit under PMMVY. 

Since 2018, the government of India has been carrying out the POSHAN Abhiyaan in an effort to enhance the nutritional status of children, adolescent girls, pregnant women, and lactating mothers in a timely manner. Mission POSHAN 2.0 was implemented across all 36 States and UTs on February 28, 2023. It includes 112 aspirational districts and encompasses over 730 districts. There have been more than 60 crore Jan Andolan-related events. 1.10 lakh medicinal saplings have been planted nationwide, and more than 4 lakh Poshan Vatikas have been developed. The Poshan Tracker has made it possible for the first time for pregnant women and nursing moms to move between AWCs inside and outside of a State.

Around 9.99 crore lactating mothers, pregnant women and children of various age groups have benefited under the Poshan mission. 

Talking of Labour Room Quality Improvement Initiative (LaQshya) was established to raise the standard of care provided to pregnant patients in labour rooms and maternity operating rooms, ensuring that they receive compassionate, high-quality care throughout delivery and the first few weeks after giving birth.

A total of 283 obstetric high dependency units (HDU) and intensive care units (ICU) had been authorised up until March 24, 2023, in high caseload tertiary care facilities across the nation, including Government Medical College hospitals and district hospitals. A facility-level goal under LaQshya is to attain a surgical site infection rate in maternity OT of 5% or less, or at the very least a reduction of 30% from the baseline.