Representative image. Credit: Reuters
New Delhi: India’s maternal mortality ratio (MMR) has improved to 103 for the period between 2017 and 2019. However, despite an overall improvement, the ratio has remained the same for some states, according to the Sample Registration System’s (SRS) estimate released by the Registrar General of India. In some states, like West Bengal, Haryana and Uttarakhand, the ratio has worsened.
Maternal mortality in a region is a measure of reproductive health of women in the area. MMR is defined as the number of maternal deaths during a given time period per 100,000 live births during the same time period.
The target of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) set by United Nations aims at reducing the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births.
According to the latest data, barring Karnataka (83), all southern states, including Kerala (30), Andhra Pradesh (58), Telangana (56) and Tamil Nadu (58) have the lowest MMR. Maharashtra (38) also has the lowest MMR in the country.
The ratio has worsened in states such as West Bengal (109), Haryana (96), Uttarakhand (101) and Chhattisgarh (160). As per the 2020 data, West Bengal’s MMR was 98, Haryana’s 91, Uttarakhand’s 99 and Chhattisgarh’s 159.
However, despite a country-wide improvement, the ratio in some states have remained above 150, much higher than the UN’s SDG target.
Uttar Pradesh’s MMR in 2017-19 was 167, compared to 197 in 2016-18; Assam’s MMR was 215 and now it’s 205; and Madhya Pradesh’s MMR was 173 and now it’s 163.
Rajasthan managed to improve its MMR from 164 in 2016-18 to 141 in 2017-19. Similarly, Bihar also improved its MMR from 149 in 2016-18 to 130 in the latest survey.
According to the Times of India, many developed countries have successfully brought down MMR to single digits. Italy, Norway, Poland and Belarus have the lowest MMR of two, while it is seven in both Germany and the UK, 10 in Canada and 19 in the US. India’s neighbouring countries – Nepal (186), Bangladesh (173) and Pakistan (140) — have a higher MMR. However, China and Sri Lanka are way ahead with MMRs of 18.3 and 36, respectively.