Friday, July 31, 2009
High Rates of Maternal Mortality Persist in India
Guttmacher Institute news release: Maternal Mortality Remains High in India, Despite Slow Decline:
Although maternal mortality in India is declining, it remains unacceptably high, according to the report Barriers to Safe Motherhood in India, released today by the New York–based Guttmacher Institute and the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) in Mumbai. Maternal deaths in India, the world’s second most populous country, constitute one-quarter of all maternal deaths globally. Therefore, India’s slow pace in improving maternal health not only has serious negative consequences for Indian women and their families, it also impedes global achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal to reduce maternal mortality by 75% between 2000 and 2015.
High levels of maternal mortality are especially tragic because deaths associated with pregnancy or childbirth are largely preventable. In India, hemorrhage, a condition that is exacerbated by widespread anemia among pregnant women, is the most important cause of such deaths. In a country where abortion is broadly legal, unsafe abortion remains common and contributes significantly to maternal mortality; preventing unintended pregnancy and increasing access to trained abortion providers would go a long way toward reducing maternal deaths.
Because maternal mortality is intrinsically hard to measure, estimates vary widely: The Indian government estimates that 301 maternal deaths occur per 100,000 live births, whereas the World Health Organization puts the estimate at 450. . . .