Mumbai witnessed a significant increase in the number of maternal deaths between April 2011 and March 2012, as compared to the previous financial year.
According to data recorded by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the city saw 259 deaths in 2011-12, as compared to 222 deaths in 2010-11. The report states that a majority of maternal deaths were caused by anaemia, sepsis and hypertension.
“We are studying each maternal death in detail in the review committee meetings, in order to find the reasons for the deaths, so that appropriate steps can be taken to avoid them,” said Dr Asha Advani, special officer, family welfare unit, BMC.
Of the 259 deaths, 44 were due to anaemia and 41 due to sepsis. In 40 cases, mortality was linked to hypertension. In 36 cases, the women suffered from Hepatitis E, and 24 women died owing to bleeding during pregnancy and post childbirth.
Poor diet is the major cause for maternal mortality, said doctors. “Many pregnant women suffer from iron deficiency, but it rarely gets diagnosed,” said Dr Ashok Anand, professor of gynaecology, JJ hospital. Doctors added that sepsis (infection) can be avoided if better sterility is maintained during operations.
“Women need to be screened before deciding to conceive. If a woman is diagnosed of a heart ailment before pregnancy, the ailment can be corrected and then pregnancy advised,” said Dr Duru Shah, committee member, International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics.
While 131 victims were from Mumbai, a large section belonged to Thane and Raigad, who were transferred to city hospitals at the last moment. The BMC had issued circulars to periphery hospitals that patients should not be refused admission or transferred without an ambulance.