New Delhi: Every day 67,385 babies are born in India, that’s one sixth of the world’s child births. However, sadly, every minute one of these newborns dies, states UNICEF. It further adds, in India the number of women and girls who die each year due to issues related to pregnancy and childbirth has dropped considerably, from 103,000 in 2000 to 35000 in 2017, a 55 per cent decrease, but a lot still needs to be achieved.
With an aim to decrease these statistics and improve Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) in India, along with raising awareness about adequate access to care during pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal services, India marks April 11 as the National Safe Motherhood Day. Here is a quick lowdown on things you must know about the day:
– National Safe Motherhood Day is an initiative of the non-profit organisation, White Ribbon Alliance that is working with an aim to ensure that pregnancy and childbirth are safe for all women and newborns
– The day came into existence in 2003, when the Government of India declared that the country will observe this day every year. India was the first country to do so.
– National Safe Motherhood Day is also marked on April 11 to honour Kasturba Gandhi on her birth anniversary
– Along with raising awareness about adequate access to care during pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal services, the day calls for the prevention of child marriages as it is an indirect cause of maternal deaths
– In India, National Safe Motherhood Day also aims to help country achieve the third Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), wherein countries have united to achieve a new target to accelerate the decline of maternal mortality by 2030. According to UNICEF, maternal mortality is considered a key health indicator and the direct causes of maternal deaths are well known and largely preventable and treatable. 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.
As per UNICEF and the latest report of the National Sample Registration System (SRS) data, the Maternal Mortality Ratio(MMR) of India for the period 2016-18 is 113/100,000 live births. It has declined by 17 points, from 130/100,000 live births in 2014 -16. This translates to 2,500 additional mothers saved annually in 2018 as compared to 2016.
– In India, to ensure safe motherhood for women, there have been many national initiatives kick-started by the government. The Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) is one of the most prominent initiatives launched by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The initiative provides a fixed day for assured, comprehensive and quality antenatal care free of cost to pregnant women on 9th of every month. This Programme strengthens antenatal care detection and follow up of high-risk pregnancies. It contributes towards reduction of maternal deaths and reduce the MMR of India.
Another major initiative is Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) that encompasses free maternity services for women and children. The aim of these initiatives is to achieve the global goal of improving maternal health by saving women’s lives and reaching out to those who are most at risk, such as women in rural areas, urban slums, poorer households, adolescent mothers, women from minorities and tribal, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe groups.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. 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 will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that 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 the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.