Maternal and Child Health in Pune, India

 In India, an estimated 136,000 mothers and 2.5 million children die every year, most often due to causes that are preventable or easily treatable if immediate help is available. In order to keep its commitment to its most vulnerable population, India should reduce its maternal mortality ratio (MMR) from 540 to 135, and its under-five child mortality from 96 to 32. Most maternal deaths in India are caused by complications such as hemorrhage (29%), anemia (19%), sepsis (16%), obstructed labor (10%), unsafe abortion (9%) and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (8%). All of these complications are potentially preventable. Unsafe abortions continue to kill women three decades after termination of pregnancy was legalized in India. Unfortunately, there is no one-shot remedy for reducing maternal mortality. Nor is the problem of maternal /child mortality a disease like HIV/AIDS or avian influenza, for example, which has major consequences for global health, international commerce and survival. Maternal mortality is disease of poverty. 75% of those children who die before age five, die in their first year of life. Of these, 64% do not make it through the first month of life. Three in every four of these do not live beyond the first week of life. Birth asphyxia and prematurity are leading killers of the younger babies, while acute respiratory infections, diarrhea compounded by malnutrition and vaccine preventable diseases like measles account for many deaths among older children. While child mortality has decreased significantly over the last two decades, there have been disproportionate decreases in mortality rates at different stages of life before the age of five.

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