India has made significant progress in reducing its maternal mortality rate by 69 percent, since 1990. However, it still accounts for 15 percent of world’s casualties due to pregnancy and childbirth, reports Lancet.
Giving insights to the international as well as national disparities in maternal healthcare services, the latest Lancet ‘Maternal Health 2016’ series reported that the global maternal mortality rate has come down to nearly half (44%) since 1990. 45,000 maternal deaths in India in 2015 along with 58,000 in Nigeria accounted for one-third of the global total.
Most maternal deaths occur in the hours and days after childbirth, but haemorrhaging remains the greatest killer of mothers worldwide.
Currently, India’s maternal mortality rate stands at 174 and to achieve its next target, it needs to reduce it to 103. Coverage of life-saving interventions and inequity are India’s biggest concerns in the path of improving maternal healthcare.
Despite improvement in coverage of institutional deliveries and skilled birth attendants, India has twice missed its millennium development goals to reduce maternal mortality rate by three quarters.
With a focus on rural areas, the Indian government has introduced schemes to address the various challenges in this area. This also includes providing pregnant women with care at different stages of their pregnancy.
However, further study of these programmes’ designs like the staffing, costs, and sustainability is still needed.