Mumbai: Since 2010, 40% rise in maternal deaths; TB top killer
Maternal deaths in Mumbai have increased 40% over the past five years. Data from the civic body, which records these deaths every month, revealed that the top cause of maternal deaths in Mumbai is tuberculosis, an infectious disease that is curable. The finding assumes significance given the resurgence of drug-resistant tuberculosis in the city and other parts of the country.
Last year (2014-15), the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) maternal death review committee recorded 319 maternal deaths across hospitals in the city as against 222 deaths reported in 2010-2011. In the past two years, the number of deaths has increased 15%.
Civic body and public health experts are baffled at the findings of the maternal death review committee, which analyses the reasons for such deaths in order to frame preventive polices. “Deaths as a result of anaemia have reduced drastically, but tuberculosis has emerged as the top cause for maternal mortality,” said Dr P Keskar, executive health officer, BMC, adding that the rise in maternal deaths is a result of better reporting. Half of the maternal deaths reported in city hospitals are of women referred from neighbouring districts, said civic officials.
After tuberculosis, hepatitis A and hepatitis E (foodborne infections) have killed most pregnant women admitted at hospitals in Mumbai. Earlier, the most common causes for maternal deaths were pre-partum and post-partum haemorrhage (bleeding during, before and after childbirth), pre-eclampsia or pregnancy induced hypertension, sepsis as a result of infection.
The civic body's data also showed that maternal deaths reported in Mumbai between April 2014 and March this year is the highest ever. In fact, although India has witnessed a drop in overall maternal mortality, the country may miss the Millennium Development Goals set by United Nations (UN) to reduce maternal deaths, said experts.
“The access to reproductive health is the key to reduce maternal mortality. The urban poor living in Mumbai often find it difficult to continue and follow up with antenatal care owing to language barriers and overcrowded hospitals,” said Dr Aparna Hegde, chairperson, Armman, a non-profit working for improving maternal health.
Dr Lalit Anande, chief medical officer at the GTB (group of tuberculosis) hospitals, recalled a case where a 24-year-old woman undergoing treatment for drug-resistant TB got pregnant. “Doctors advised her medical termination of pregnancy as her life was at risk. She was referred to various hospitals, but she was turned away,” said Anande, adding that a dedicated obstetric facilities for pregnant women with TB need to be established in the wake of such deaths.
Doctors said that pregnancy also reduces women’s immunity, making her more vulnerable to TB infection. “Recently, we lost two pregnant women with TB. Poor nutrition is to be blamed. If treated appropriately, most pregnant women with TB can survive childbirth and also get cured,” said Dr Ashok Anand, professor of gynaecology department at JJ Hospital, Byculla, adding that some anti-TB drugs cannot be administered to pregnant women.
The Ladakh UT administration has thrown open helicopter service for tourists visiting the region known for its natural beauty. “The first batch of tourists availed heli-service in Ladakh as the administration opens the service for tourists and visitors, in general,” said an official spokesperson. The administration has opened the services with two choppers, a five-seater B-3 chopper and a larger Mi-172.
The state government is committed towards modernising and strengthening the police force to ensure professional and effective policing, chief minister Jai Ram Thakur said on Wednesday. He was virtually inaugurating and laying stones for 43 projects of the police department worth ₹160 crore from Shimla on Wednesday. He also announced upgradation of Police Post, Sanjauli, to police station. He said last year the state government had provided 394 vehicles to the police department.
Two bike-borne men were arrested with 151g heroin in Sector 17 on Wednesday. The accused Tarun of Yamunanagar and Lakhwinder of Ambala were in possession of 101.5g and 50g of the contraband, respectively. Cell in-charge Rakesh said, “The accused had recently returned from abroad and had rented an accommodation in Sector 17. They were on their way to deliver drugs to Mustafabad, when they were arrested, following a tip off.”
Two farmers were killed after they inhaled toxic gas inside a manhole in Gangwa village in Hisar on Tuesday night. The victims, Satpal and Madan Singh, were among the five farmers who had entered a manhole to clear a pipeline after the water supply to the farmers' field stopped.
A day after getting arrested red-handed while accepting a bribe of ₹4 lakh to drop rape charges from an FIR, the services of a woman assistant sub-inspector have been terminated. Karnal superintendent of police Ganga Ram Punia confirmed that the services of the ASI, Sarita Rani, have been terminated with immediate effect. A resident of Sonkra village, Navjot Singh alleged that Rani had already taken ₹10,000 as bribe.