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Social auditing to identify causes of maternal mortality

Posted:  Tuesday, April 12, 2016

State-driven initiatives for combating maternal mortality

Although India has experienced growth in tertiary healthcare services, it lags behind in the antenatal care of pregnant women. Consequently, pregnancy-associated complications and resulting deaths are a major cause of concern. The government has launched various initiatives to reduce adverse maternal outcomes such as death or loss of pregnancy.

Rajendra Rathore, the health minister of Rajasthan, announced new initiatives for reducing maternal deaths ahead of National Safe Motherhood day. As part of an initiative taken by the health department, social audits were conducted to identify the causes of pregnancy-related deaths. Consequently, 392 maternal deaths have been audited from September 2014 to January 2016.

The 2011–13 SRS survey estimated 4636 fatalities annually in pregnant women, which equate to 244 maternal deaths per 1 lakh live births in the state. These are alarming statistics, since 19.6 lakh women get pregnant annually and about 1.9 lakh develop pregnancy-related complications. An estimated 38,000 women require specialised care for healthy delivery.

Dr. VK Mathur, Director, Family Welfare and Health Department, Rajasthan elaborated, “The major causes of complication in pregnant women are related to anaemia, malnutrition, hypertension, diabetes and history of complications in earlier pregnancies. Anaemia is the main cause of pregnancy related complication. For its treatment, we give iron folic acid tablets. Also, we transfuse blood to women with issue of anaemia so that they are able to give birth to a healthy baby while ensuring their own safety’’.

The annual health survey of 2013 projected a rise in institutional deliveries to about 78.2%. This established the positive impact of the new efforts by the health department and has given new hope in the drive towards reducing pregnancy-related complications and combating maternal mortalities.

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