MP reports second highest deaths during pregnancy

pregnancy deaths

Janani Suraksha ambulances had gone on an indefinite strike in October which affected health services in the state.(HT file photo)

Madhya Pradesh reported 113 deaths during pregnancy in 2015 — the second highest in the country, according to a National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report. Maharashtra topped the list with 633 cases.

In 2014, 109 women died during pregnancy. Besides, the state was second in number of deaths during abortions with 25 cases, the report found. In 2014, the state reported 46 such cases.

Medical experts blame the state’s poor health services and non-availability of resources for high number of deaths during pregnancy.

Schemes like Janani Suraksha Yojana and Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana – which promote institutional deliveries – failed to bring the high rate of maternal mortality down.

“The state’s health services are always in question for pregnancy deaths because in many cases patients are unable to reach doctors,” Viraj Jaiswal , a Bhopal-based gynecologist, told HT.

“The government has created quacks in form of ASHA workers who don’t know how to take care of pregnant women. Antibiotics needed during pregnancy and abortions is not available with most of public health centres and sub centres,” Jaiswal said.

Archana Mishra, the deputy director (maternal health) of National Health Mission, said apart from direct causes like severe bleeding after delivery and high blood pressure, lack of proper diet and supplements were other factors leading to death during pregnancy.

“The women are not getting right supplements, especially iron, during pregnancy and thus death rates are high in the state,” she told HT.

In 2016, the state reported a number of cases where ambulances did not reach on time or did not reach at all to take heavily pregnant women to hospital.

In July last year, a woman was forced to deliver a baby aboard a tonga (carriage) in Khargone district as ambulance did not come on time while another woman was forced to deliver a baby in a makeshift tent of sarees outside a government hospital just because its doctors were too busy attending a meeting.

Even Damoh collector Sriniwas Sharma failed to arrange an ambulance on June 12 last year for his mother, who died due to delay in treatment. Many such cases were reported all through 2016.