India registers 26.9% decline in Maternal Mortality Ratio since 2013


Representative image: Maternal Morality Rate in India

Representative image: Maternal Morality Rate in India

India has registered a 26.9 per cent reduction in Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) since 2013, according to the Sample Registration System Bulletin-2016 released on Thursday.

The decline in MMR has been from 77 to 72 per 100,000 live births among southern states and in the other states, from 93 to 90, it stated.

The ratio has declined from 167 in 2011-2013 to 130 in 2014-2016 and to 122 in 2015-17, registering a 6.15 per cent reduction since the last survey figures of 2014-2016, according to the special bulletin of the Office of the Registrar General.

“It is heartening that the maternal mortality ratio has declined from 130 in 2014-2016 to 122 in 2015-17. The decline has been most significant in empowered action group (EAG) states and Assam from 188 to 175,” it said.

To understand the maternal mortality situation in the country better and to map the changes that have taken place, especially at the regional level, the government has categorised states into three groups EAG, southern states and “other” states.

Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have already met the sustainable development goals target of 70 per 100,000 MMR, while Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are within “striking distance”, a senior health ministry official said.

EAG states comprise Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, and Assam.The southern states are Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu and the “other” states categories cover the remaining states and Union territories.

Maternal deaths being a rare event require a large sample size to provide robust estimates. In order to enhance the SRS sample size, the results were derived by following the practice of pooling three years’ data to yield reliable estimates of maternal mortality, the bulletin stated.

The first report on maternal mortality in India (1997-2003), describing trends, causes and risk factors, was released in October 2006.

The WHO last year lauded India’s progress in reducing the MMR saying the progress puts the country on track towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of an MMR below 70 by 2030.