VELLORE/TIRUPATTUR: The maternal mortality rate is significantly higher in Tirupattur district, compared to the State average, data obtained by The New Indian Express reveals. The MMR is the number of maternal deaths per 1 lakh live births. According to respective district administration data for 2021-22, the maternal mortality rate (MMR) is 93.4 in Tirupattur, while the State average is at 58.
According to data from the district administration, 33 per cent of maternal deaths in Tirupattur were caused by hypertensive disorder during pregnancy, while 20 per cent of deaths were related to teenage pregnancies. Anaemia and Covid-19 account for 7 per cent and 13 per cent of maternal deaths respectively.
Early marriages and teenage pregnancy are some of the major reasons for the deaths, said a senior health department official in Tirupattur.
Lack of awareness is an important factor and must be addressed, said Tirupattur Collector Amar Khushwaha.
"Women not taking medical care till a complication develops, shifting treatment centers are some of the issues. Routine maternal health audits are conducted and other necessary steps are taken. We are planning to conduct special camps to create awareness in the blocks/panchayats that have recorded maternal deaths in the last two years," he added.
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The Collector said child marriages, teenage pregnancy and maternal deaths all are inter-connected and will be addressed.
In Tirupattur, over 300 calls were recorded on the Childline from July 2020 to February 2022. Though not all are related to child marriages, there are a considerable number of child marriages that have been stopped, said the district administration. Lack of access to quality healthcare, lack of awareness and other socio-economic reasons also play a role in the deaths.
The district health department, in a written response, said various efforts, including early identification of high-risk patients and referring them to tertiary healthcare centres, evaluating underweight mothers for TB, heart disease, malignancy autoimmune disease and avoiding multiple referrals, were taken.
Chennai-based Gynaecologist and Doctors Association for Social Equality Secretary Dr Shanthi said deliveries should be performed only in the healthcare centres where an obstetrician, anaesthetist, paediatrician, blood bank and operation theatre are available round-the-clock, to reduce maternal mortality.
Dr Shanthi added that deliveries in Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) should not be encouraged.
"The government should take a policy decision in this regard. While the authorities stress much about the high-risk mothers, maternal deaths can happen to a low-risk patient if proper care is not given," she said.