India needs to fight Maternity Mortality with urgency: NATHEALTH

Apex healthcare body says that strengthening of Primary Centers would help mother care & reduce MMR and India also needs to prioritise technologies for proper mother care

India needs to fight Maternity Mortality with urgency: NATHEALTH

Healthy India is certainly a possibility by aligning proper mother and child care with universal health coverage which is a long-term objective for India and to achieve this, adequate attention is needed on reducing maternity mortality rate (MMR) with a sense of urgency, NATHEALTH, the Healthcare Federation of India said on the eve of International Women’s Day. 

According to NATHEALTH’s Aarogya Bharat Report, India urgently needs to create a roadmap for implementation of focused policy to reduce MMR. Maternal Mortality rate in India is still around 178 against 109 target of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“We need to adopt a holistic approach towards women care. A strong bias towards curative care reflects a culture that often neglects prevention and wellness. India needs to focus more on preventive capabilities and public health measures to meet post-2015 MDGs for maternal and child health outcomes, with a special emphasis on reducing the dual burden of CDs and NCDs,” Anjan Bose, Secretary General, NATHEALTH said. 

“The government has taken several steps to implement several women care projects like Janani Suraksha Yojna. Hence, maternal mortality rates have improved considerably. However, high-quality care is hindered both by limited accreditation and by failure to adopt basic technologies. Here, by joining hands public and private sector can play vital role in improving women care,” he added.

According to NATHEALTH, digital technologies would go a long way to reform mother and child care in India. India needs to prioritize technologies for mother and child health. Low-cost products such as infant warmer, portable ultrasound for remote areas and services along with IT-enabled healthcare information gathering would greatly help. Tracking and reporting antenatal care requires to be scaled up across the country and Rajasthan model can be replicated. 

MMR of India has shown a decline from 212 per 1, 00,000 live births in 2007-09 to 167 per 1,00,000 live births in 2011-13 and India’s rate of decline of MMR between 2007-09 and 2011-13 is 5.7 per cent. With the current compound rate of annual decline, MMR is around 140 presently. 

NATHEALTH feels that the pronouncement on transforming 1,50,000 health sub-centers into health and wellness centers for strengthening primary care in Budget 2017-18 clearly indicates that the government has accorded priority to mother and child care with a sense of urgency. The Budget also proclaims intent to reduce the maternal mortality ratio from current level to 100 by 2018-20. Though the target appears realistic, however, the government needs to raise standards of care in sub-centers, primary health centers and community health centers and that would require more human and financial resources.  

NATHEALTH recommends that India needs to focus on universal insurance coverage for essential care with low out-of-pocket spending. The government also needs to pay attention on its role as a payer and regulator and drive provision of healthcare in under-served areas, across the care continuum. Facilitating public health through a focus on awareness, education, sanitation, immunization and implementation of public health initiatives would go long way to make not only women in India healthy but create a  Healthy India in real sense. 

The Changing Face of Rural India