Maternal Mortality in India 2016-18

Context: Recently, the Office of the Registrar General’s Sample Registration System (SRS) has released a special bulletin on Maternal Mortality in India 2016-18.

Key Highlights of the Maternal Mortality in India 2016-18.

  • The Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in India has declined to 113 in 2016-18 from 122 in 2015-17 and 130 in 2014-2016.
  • The MMR of various States according to the bulletin includes Assam (215), Bihar (149), Madhya Pradesh (173), Chhattisgarh (159), Odisha (150), Rajasthan (164), Uttar Pradesh (197) and Uttarakhand (99).
  • The southern States registered a lower MMR i.e. Andhra Pradesh (65), Telangana (63), Karnataka (92), Kerala (43) and Tamil Nadu (60).
  • The states which have shown a significant decline are Rajasthan (maximum decline of 22 points)Uttar Pradesh (19 points), Odisha (18 points) Bihar (16 points) and Madhya Pradesh (15 points).

Significance of Decline in India’s Maternal Mortality Ratio

  • The Maternal mortality in a region is a measure of reproductive health of women in the area and steep decline in MMR signifies that there is focus on institutional deliveries.
  • The decline in MMR can be attributed to the intensive endeavor of the government in achieving impressive gains in institutional deliveries as well as focusing on quality and coverage of services under National Health Mission (NHM).
  • The successful implementation of various schemes such as Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram, Janani Suraksha Yojana, and newer initiatives like LaQshya and Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan.
  • The Government of India also envisages rolling out the overarching SUMAN initiative including the midwifery initiative, assuring delivery of maternal and newborn healthcare services encompassing wider access to free and quality services.

Response of World Health Organization towards Maternal Mortality

  • As defined in the Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality Strategy, WHO is working with partners in supporting countries towards:
    • addressing inequalities in access to and quality of reproductive, maternal, and newborn health care services;
    • ensuring universal health coverage for comprehensive reproductive, maternal, and newborn health care;
    • addressing all causes of maternal mortality, reproductive and maternal morbidities, and related disabilities; 
    • strengthening health systems to collect high quality data in order to respond to the needs and priorities of women and girls; and
    • ensuring accountability in order to improve quality of care and equity.

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