The aforementioned SRS bulletin was issued from the Office of the Registrar General, which also highlighted an interesting fact that the most significant decline is 'heartening' and it pertains to the Empowered Action Group (EAG) states as well Assam.
Good news! The latest Sample Registration System Bulletin 2016 released on Thursday indicates that India has marked a significant decline of 26.9 percent reduction in Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) since the year 2013. While the importance of maternal health in India cannot be highlighted enough and offers opportunities for further improvement, the MMR decline from 77 to 72 per 100,000 live births spanning the southern states and from 93 to 90 in the other states is significant.
The aforementioned SRS bulletin was issued from the Office of the Registrar General, which also highlighted an interesting fact that the most significant decline is ‘heartening’ and it pertains to the Empowered Action Group (EAG) states as well Assam.
A notable statistic is that Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have already met the target of 70 per 100,000 MR, whereas Andhra Pradesh and Telangane remain within ‘striking distance’.
What is the maternal mortality rate of India?
In its earlier 2018 report, WHO had commended India’s ‘groundbreaking progress’ in reducing MMR by a whopping 77 percent. From 556 per 100,000 live births in the year 1990, this came down to 130 per 100,000 in 2016. The most recent SRS bulletin has now further shed light on the improvements from thereon.
Maternity Mortality Ratio: How states are categorised
In the context of ranking MMR performance, note that states across the country are categorised into three groups:
- EAG as mentioned earlier
- southern states and
- ‘other’ states.
The EAG states include:
- Madhya Pradesh
- Uttar Pradesh
The southern states include:
- Andhra Pradesh
- Tamil Nadu
The ‘other’ states pertain to Union territories and all other states.
Maternity Mortality Ratio: India’s groundbreaking progress
As mentioned earlier, in 2018, the World Health Organization referred to India’s ‘ground breaking progress in reducing MMR by 77% spanning the years 1990 to 2016. The WHO highlighted for key actions for India’s remarkable achievement.
These are briefly explained below.
Increased access to quality maternal health services
India’s concerted push to increase access to quality maternal health services in terms of not only doubling the essential maternal health services since 2005 but also trebling the proportion of institutional deliveries in public facilities.
State-subsidized demand side financing
State subsidized maternal health initiatives played a pivotal role in significantly bridging the rural-urban divide, thereby enabling free transport and no expense delivery to all pregnant women delivering their babies in public health institutions.
A notable example is the Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram. According to a WHO report in 2018, 75 percent of rural births are supervised as compared to 89 percent deliveries in urban areas.
Women’s Literacy as a social determinant
Over the last few decades, India’s emphasis on improving the literacy rates of women in rural and urban areas has yielded significant results. A notable statistic as per WHO report is that now only 27 percent Indian women marry before reaching the age of 18 years.
Wondering what is the impact of women’s literacy on improving maternal health in India? With more educated Indian women being comfortably able to read and write before marriage, they feel more in control to take decisions related to birth control and reproduction.
Engagement between public and private health care providers
The efforts of the government to facilitate meaningful engagement between public and private health care providers has begun to yield results. Take the example of the Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan, which enabled pregnant women with access to antenatal checks ups and gynecologists and treatment options to track high risk pregnancies. These are exactly the kind of ‘big impact’ indicators that were put into place through continuous and consistent efforts at a government level.
With India’s achievement marking its wide-ranging human impact in advancing maternal and newborn health, the continued focus on ensuring that every Indian woman exercises control over her reproductive choices remains key to end preventable deaths.