BENGALURU: Karnataka has jumped from 9th to 8th rank in maternal mortality rate among states in the country. Experts, although appreciative of this, say it is still not enough as the numbers continue to be the highest in Karnataka among the five southern States.
The report released by the Ministry of Home Affairs revealed that Karnataka’s Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) has declined from 92 per lakh live births in 2015-17 to 83 per lakh live births in 2017-19.
The MMR is a significant indicator that defines the public health of a state. It determines the progress made by states in saving the lives of pregnant women during pregnancy, childbirth and lactation.
But several experts working in the field say this is not enough. Karnataka has reduced sustainable development goals set by the United Nations at 70 per lakh live births that has to be achieved by 2030. “There is definitely an improvement in the numbers. The success has to be attributed to institutional deliveries, better antenatal services and better access to contraceptive choices.
The better implementation of initiatives like Janani Sudarshan Yojana (JSY), Surakshit Matritva Aashwashan (SUMAN), Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK), Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA), Chiranjivi Yojana, Mamtha Ghar and others have helped reduce MMR,” explains Dr Soumya Sangamesh, consultant, infertility specialist, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital.
But Karnataka is still highest among the southern states, with Kerala with an MMR of 30, Telangana 56, and Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh both at 58. The survey was done in 2017-19 before the Covid 19 pandemic.
Raising awareness on pre-pregnancy care vital: Doctor
Dr Sylvia Karpagam, a public health doctor, says, “Health facilities, especially public health, have not recovered fully post Covid and there may be a rise in maternal mortality over the last 2.5 years. Efforts have to be made to strengthen such facilities, mainly large tertiary maternity hospitals which had been arbitrarily converted to secondary Covid facilities.” She explains that in many rural areas, deliveries are taking place in private hospitals which are known to under report.
“Strengthening and making mandatory reporting by private hospitals would be a first step to ensure data is accurate and reliable,” she adds. Dr Hema Divakar, former head of Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecological Societies of India (FOGSI) and a technical expert with the Institute of Public Health, a Government of India initiative, says, “Karnataka is moving ahead with the vision that ‘every mother and every baby counts’.
Strengthening the healthcare systems and raising awareness on pre-pregnancy care will make a significant difference for better outcomes in the future.” Dr Soumya says that the state can achieve much more if it improves its efforts to provide early reach to pregnant mothers and their registration, regular antenatal checkups, nutrition, diagnostic methods, detection of high risk cases, timely intervention, transport facility, regular interaction with healthcare staff or ASHA workers and compulsory prenatal checkups, and ensure transfer to referral centres.
K’taka’s numbers still highest in South
- Karnataka jumps from 9th to 8th rank in maternal mortality rate
- Karnataka’s Maternal Mortality Ratio has declined from 92 per lakh live births in 2015-17 to 83 per lakh live births in 2017-19
- But it is still highest among five southern states
- Kerala with an MMR of 30, Telangana 56, and TN and AP both at 58 fare better than Karnataka