Saturday, February 5, 2011

Maternal mortality ratio: 90 per cent of pregnancy-related deaths in India due to delay in selection of good hospital

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad:  About 90 per cent of pregnancy-related deaths are due to delay in selection of a good hospital and lack of adequate transport facility in the country. Only 10 per cent of maternal mortality cases are linked to medical issues.
According to senior gynaecologists Dr P Balamba and Dr Shanta Kumari, the high maternal mortality ratio in the country can be curbed if pregnant women choose a good hospital in the initial stages of pregnancy, instead of going round hospitals at the eleventh hour.
 "Women need help to reach emergency obstetric facilities. Raising awareness about the need for women to access emergency care is critical for saving lives. Any slight delay in provision of medicare during the critical period will prove dangerous to the life of mother and child," they said.
Dr Balamba said hundreds of gynaecologists and obstetricians from across the country and abroad will descend on Hyderabad for three days from January 5 to discuss a number of health issues including infertility, maternal mortality ratio, child mortality rate, safe pregnancy and delivery and survival of the girl child.
About 8,500 doctors will participate in the 54th Congress of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, being conducted by the Obstetrics and Gynaecologists Society of Hyderabad.
They said India has one of the highest maternal mortality ratio with 254 out of every one lakh women dying during or after delivery. About 30 per cent of all women need emergency care during delivery and hence reaching hospital in time will save the life.
Official statistics point out that only 35 per cent of all deliveries are conducted by a doctor and 15 per cent are conducted by a nurse, ANM, midwife or lady health visitor. In urban areas more than 69 per cent of the deliveries take place in institutions as against 30 per cent in rural areas.
They said distance to primary health centre could be difficult to cover in many rural areas and the delay can cause maternal deaths in case of complications.
There will be a public forum on January 7 between 4.30 pm and 5.30 pm at HICC on the burning issue "environmental pollution - impact on reproductive health".
Regarding high percentage of caesarean procedures in the country, they said the WHO had stipulated that there should not be more than 15 caesarean operations for every 100 deliveries. "In government hospitals, however, the percentage of caesarean deliveries has touched 35 and it is mainly due to girls insisting that their delivery should be labour-free," they added.

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