- The day also calls for the prevention of child marriages
- Worldwide maternal mortality has dropped by 44% between 1990 and 2015: WHO
- Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram encourages institutional deliveries
New Delhi: National Safe Motherhood Day is an initiative of the non-profit organisation, White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) working with an aim to ensure that pregnancy and childbirth are safe for all women and newborns. In 2003, Government of India declared that the country will observe this day on April 11 every year, becoming the first country to do so. The country decided to observe National Safe Motherhood Day on April 11, to honour Kasturba Gandhi on her birth anniversary.
Importance Of National Safe Motherhood Day
White Ribbon Alliance decided to observe National Safe Motherhood Day each year with an aim to raise awareness about adequate access to care during pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal services along with a focus on reducing anaemia.
The day also calls for the prevention of child marriages because it may be an indirect cause of maternal deaths, as per WRA.
It is the right of every woman to take good quality nutrition, proper healthcare services during and after pregnancy and childbirth, says WRA.
Facts About Maternal Mortality
- Approximately 830 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, as per WHO.
- Worldwide maternal mortality has dropped by about 44 per cent in between 1990 and 2015, reports WHO.
- 50-98 per cent of maternal deaths are caused by direct obstetric causes – hemorrhage, infection, hypertensive disorders, ruptured uterus, hepatitis, and anaemia, says the WHO.
- Skilled care before, during and after childbirth can save the lives of women and newborn babies, as per WHO.
- Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of India for the period 2016-18, as per the latest report of the national Sample Registration system (SRS) data is 113 per 100,000 live births, declining by 17 points, from 130 per 100,000 live births in 2014-16.
Sustainable Development Goal 3
As part of the Third Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), countries have united behind a new target to accelerate the decline of maternal mortality by 2030. The target of this SDG is to reduce the global MMR to less than 70 per 100,000 births, with no country having a maternal mortality rate of more than twice the global average.
Government Initiative To Ensure Safe Motherhood
There have been many national initiatives by the government to ensure safe motherhood for women. Most prominently, Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) was launched in 2011 to motivate those who still choose to deliver at their homes to opt for institutional deliveries.
Under the initiative, every woman who is pregnant becomes eligible to deliver child in public health institutions for free of cost which also includes cesarean births.
The entitlements also include free drugs and consumables, free diagnostics, free blood if required, and free diet for three days during normal delivery and seven days for C-section. Furthermore, JSSK provides free transport from home to institution. These entitlements are also applied to pre and post-natal complications of pregnancy.
Nutrition An Important Aspect To Ensure Safe Pregnancy And Motherhood: Expert
Dr. Meena Sawant, Secretary at Indian Society of Perinatology and Reproductive Biology (ISOPARB), suggests that maternal nutrition is the foundation stone for a child’s growth and development. Moreover, it is also critical for a woman’s health and well-being across life stages but especially pregnancy. She says,
Many mothers face problems of nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite and unusual cravings. All of these may affect the nutrition of the mother. Most of these can be tackled with time and doctor’s prescription. Knowledge about the right food is essential for the mother and her family members.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.