As per a 2015 report by the United Nations Population Fund, around 830 mothers die every day due to childbirth or pregnancy causes which is about 2 deaths per minute in India. As per a Lancet report, one-third of the total maternal deaths in 2015 happened in India, where 45,000 mothers died during pregnancy or childbirth. India accounts for 15% of worlds’ maternal death.
Who knew the bandwagon and the hoopla of acche din was limited just to the economy and achieving global stature while ridiculing the nation itself, right?
Even after almost seven decades of independence in a time when India is considered to be the next big superpower in the world economy along with a colossal military power, we have essentially failed to ensure the basic right of every would-be mother i.e., to deliver her child with minimum complications.
Though the rate has decreased essentially since 1990, the limited amount of improvement in terms of maternal deaths can be catered to key government interventions such as the Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) scheme. This encompasses free maternity services for women and children, a nationwide scale-up of emergency referral systems and maternal death audits, and improvements in the governance and management of health services at all levels.
However, adolescent and illiterate mothers and those living in hard to reach areas still have a much greater chance of dying in childbirth. Adolescent girls outside Indian cities are especially vulnerable as teenage marriage and pregnancies are very high in rural and remote areas of the country.
Rural clinics and health centres are often too far and expensive for women to travel to reach. Facilities often lack proper equipment and lack available blood to be used in emergency obstetric care, which continues to be a factor in about half of all maternal deaths in our country. High rates of absenteeism and unfilled vacancies may mean that upon arrival at a health centre, there may not be anyone there, or the facility may be closed, rendering the women in trouble helpless. There are too few blood banks and among those existing, many do not have enough blood in stock. Emergency obstetric care is not always available. Although ambulances are supposed to be able to carry women from primary and community health centres to better-equipped district hospitals when there are complications, the ambulances are either not existent or not functioning.
Society has failed its women since long, by hurling abuses and accuses at them, however, in cases of maternal health the civic amenities fail us by large. Who knew prenatal care is just for the privileged, while women from the poorer backgrounds have to rely upon the wisdom of midwives to furiously praying for Gods to enact.
Wherever pregnant women live, whether in a Tanzanian village, Silicon Valley or an underserved area of the Bihar, access to skilled, high-quality prenatal care and assistance in childbirth can bridge the difference between life and death. It is known for decades on how to prevent maternal deaths, and conveniently they all are relatively simple in nature. Safe and affordable approaches do exist to successfully prevent or treat most obstetric complications to save women’s lives.
When there is political will, these tools become available to all women, while the lack of it hampers the life. Improving maternal mortality is not only a goal to be achieved by the Party in power so as to gain a better world holding in terms of protecting its citizens; it is a goal worth reaching.
Maternal deaths are nothing but tragic in nature, it is something that can be prevented and still we are unable to stop the epidemic.
Have we forgotten to take care of our mothers while we are busy upholding the great patriarchy of our society? Should a life-giver be used as an object for either sexual means or baby-producing mean? Do we protect her no more, while praying furiously for Laxmi to visit?
Everywhere lies a mother, either abandoned or not cared for, either abused or thrashed, either alive or dead. In a bid to protect bharat mata, can we initiate some efforts for protecting our very own?