While India may miss the millennium development goal of reducing the maternal mortality rate (MMR) to 109 per 1 lakh live births by 2015, Jalandhar has achieved the same by reducing MMR to 94 per one lakh live births for the year 2014-15 as on December 1, 2014.
According to the data available with the Jalandhar civil hospital, the MMR for 2013-14 was 136 per 1 lakh live births and with consistent intervention of the health department this has been brought down to 94 per 1 lakh live births for the consecutive year.
District family and welfare officer Dr Gurmeet Kaur Duggal said, “The health department’s effort in registering pregnant women in their early months of pregnancy and keeping them under constant medical surveillance has helped reducing maternal mortality to a great extent.”
The data also suggests that overall maternal deaths in the district have also reduced. The number of total deaths in 2013-14 was 37 whereas till December 2014, the total numbers of maternal deaths was 25.
One of the main reasons behind this success has been the proper implementation of national rural health mission (NRHM) in the state.
India has been seeing a steady decline in maternal mortality. However, the latest figures suggest that it is 178 per 1 lakh live births and the survey was carried out in 2010-12. According to the data, the MMR of Jalandhar is better than the national average.
“The health department also emphasises on early detection of high-risk pregnancy and all the auxiliary midwives have been trained for the purpose. At the same time due to the introduction of the 108 ambulance services, the peripheral areas are now well connected with the district, which has come as a boon for the pregnant women,” Dr Gurmeet Kaur said.
Despite all the efforts put in by the health department it is the migrant population which is now contributing to the maternal mortality in the state. Mothers belonging to lower economic social strata suffer from nutritional deficiencies leading to complications during pregnancy.
According to the data collected from the civil hospital, most women facing severe complications during pregnancy are from the lower social economic strata in urban areas.
Though early intervention by the health department through its NRHM programme has succeeded in providing neo-natal care to women from rural areas of the state, the urban migrants and migrant labour population in the district are still to be covered under the government programmes.
Of a total of 25 deaths in 2014-15, 17 were that of urban poor.“The government is going to introduce the urban health mission. It will be easier for us to monitor the urban migrants and migrant labour population in the district,” the district family and welfare officer said.
She added that still there are many families which are avoiding the procedure of institutional delivery as they rely on conventional methods of employing midwives.