India’s Maternal Mortality Rates Dropped Dramatically in Five Years


Jun 8, 2018


Some good news to end the week: India’s Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) has dropped significantly in the last five years, The Wire reports.

According to a bulletin sent out by the Sample Registration System, a statistical survey carried out by the Census of India, the proportion of maternal deaths has reduced by 22% since 2013.

The Maternal Mortality Ratio is defined as the number of maternal deaths per 1,00,000 births. Between 2011 and 2013, the MMR was 167. That number dropped to 130 in between 2014 and 2016.

The present survey, which produced figures for the years 2014 to 2016, covered 62,96,101 pregnant women in India. Out of them, 556 died. The SRS bulletin stated that 2016 saw 12,000 fewer maternal deaths than there were in 2013. In other words, 30 more pregnant women are being saved per day as compared to five years ago.

In order to better understand maternal mortality and be able to map the changes more specifically, the government split the country’s states into three regional groups: Empowered Action Groups, southern states, and other states.

Empowered Action Group states have seen the most significant reduction in Maternal Mortality Ratio, from 246 to 188; in other words, the states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh. These states have historically had the highest maternal and neonatal mortality rates. Uttar Pradesh saw the biggest decline in MMR, at 30%.

Three Indian states have already reduced their MMR enough to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target of only 70 maternal deaths per 1,00,000 live births: Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra. Andra Pradesh and Telenangana are close to reaching the same goal.

“The results signify that the strategic approach of the Ministry has started yielding dividends and the efforts of focusing on low performing states is paying off,” the bulletin said. It attributed to the reduction in MMR to better infrastructure and resources, in addition to initiatives around the country providing free transport and care for pregnant women.




Written By Urvija Banerji

Urvija Banerji is the Features Editor at The Swaddle, and has previously written for Rolling Stone India and Atlas Obscura. When she’s not writing, she can be found in her kitchen, painting, cooking, picking fights online, and consuming large amounts of coffee (often concurrently).


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