Given that lack of education, access to skilled healthcare and lack of nutrition are key factors in reforming this state of affairs, what the state machinery should be focussing on is clear. The state health minister has said the idea is to form district-level panels, including NGOs, media and panchayat representatives, to study the problem to ensure complete and transparent information. His department says district officials routinely cloak MMR figures for fear of adverse action for failing to prevent such deaths. Why not have a monthly report from panchayat panels on the functioning of primary health centres And on the formally ongoing programme to train midwives to perform clean deliveries
It hardly needs to be added that these reports have to be treated seriously to warrant prompt action; there is no absence of media information or village complaints on poorly-functioning PHCs, for instance. This isnt a problem for the medical department alone to solve: roads, transport and education offices need to be equally involved. If the state machinery is serious on remedial action, it doesnt have to wait for more reports.