Over 45% of Maternal Deaths Due to Early Marriages: India records the worst maternal healthcare globally

Over 45% of Maternal Deaths Due to Early Marriages: India records the worst maternal healthcare globally

  • According to the Global Disease Burden Survey 2016, 51% of India women under reproductive age are anemic.
  • Every year, approximately 287 000 women die due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth, 99% of them are in developing countries.
  • Malnutrition, lack of awareness, sex-determination and lack of health infrastructure is to blame.

Panchkula, 19th December 2017: Even with improved infant mortality rate, India has a long way to go. The condition of women health in the country is pitiable. Due to malnutrition, there has also been a hike in stillbirths, miscarriages, and abortions. Empowerment of women is not only a requirement but a necessity. 44,000 Indian women succumb to failed healthcare every year where 70% of the deaths are preventable.

Dr. Monica Agarwal, Consultant Gynecology & Obstetrics says “The primary causes are witnessed through hemorrhage, eclampsia, obstructed labor, sepsis, unsafe abortion and pre-existing conditions, such as anemia and malaria. Adolescent girls are reportedly at greater risk where the majority of these girls are anemic. Early marriages further contribute to degrading the medical health of the woman as well as the expected child. More than 27% of girls are married before turning 18. Even though girls can be reproductive from the age of 13, it doesn’t mean that their body is ready to bear a child.”

Lack of access to healthcare and primarily socio-economic factors lead to poor maternal mortality rate. The still prevalent use of midwives in childbirth should now take a backseat. With emerging government initiatives promoting the availability of free post and pre-delivery of motherhood, a scope of improvement can be seen. The highest maternal mortality rate exists in Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

Addressing the governmental initiatives gaining momentum, Dr Monica Agarwal, Consultant Gynecology & Obstetrics says “A key government intervention known as the Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) scheme encompasses free maternity services for women and children, a nationwide scale-up of emergency referral systems and maternal death audits, and improvements in the governance and management of health services at all levels.  The Maternity Benefit Act of 2017 passed by the center deeply reflected in the full paid absence from work to take care of the neonate. Not just women, the health ministry has extensively generated discussions and actions around the role of men in family planning. The trend of #VasectomyFortnight is slowly gaining momentum. These are welcome changes.”

Over 45% of maternal mortality in India is due to early marriages and young mothers. Sex-determination and lack of ambulances and healthcare professionals are one of the greatest challenges which have lead to increased maternal deaths. Even though India has seen a decline in maternal mortality rate, it still remains a dominant problem and a health crisis. Education and awareness around maternal mortality are of primary importance.

Paras Bliss Guraon
Paras Bliss Panchkula