The number of maternal deaths has dropped by 25 per cent in the last five years, according to the public health department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. As per the data, the city had witnessed 123 maternal deaths in 2018 which further increased slightly in 2019 with 130 maternal deaths, but it kept dropping in 2020, 2021 and 2022 with only 109, 93 and 92 deaths being recorded respectively.
Measure and schemes undertaken
Senior health officials have attributed this drop to the various measures and schemes undertaken for curbing rising maternal deaths.
“We had taken several measures which included Mata Surakshit Tar Ghar Surakshit, Janani Shishu Suraksha Program and other central government schemes which help us to educate pregnant women of maternal care, early diagnoses and timely treatment. All these we could achieve through our healthcare and ASHA workers who visited door-to-door ensuring the schemes are known to everyone,” said an official.
Dr Tushar Palve, Gynaecologist and medical superintendent of the state-run Cama and Albless hospital said “A mother with Q anemia in pregnancy has numerous symptoms such as fatigue, pallor, shortness of breath, palpitations and dizziness. This results in maternal heart, vascular stress, hypoperfusion in the mother before and immediately after delivery. Therefore, there is a risk of death.”
Referral Linkage System Each maternity hospital is linked with peripheral hospitals and medical colleges to refer to high risk cases of pregnant women. This is called the referral linkage system. It is continuously reviewed. All cadres of staff from medical officers, staff nurses to Asha and health workers have been trained to manage pregnancy and postpartum.
Dr Sudhakar Shinde, Additional Municipal Commissioner said that adoption of various schemes and monthly review which help them to take positive measures through which maternal deaths can be reduced. “Recently dropped was seen after reviewing all the deaths. Moreover instructions have been given to concerned authorities to follow schemes ensuring no one is left,” he said.
Regular monthly review meeting on maternal deaths
Dr Daksha Shah, Executive Health Officer said that a regular monthly review meeting on maternal deaths is held by the District Quality Assurance Committee in which the committee analyzes each death and advises hospitals to prevent maternal deaths.
“All services for pregnant mothers and delivery in the municipality are provided free of cost as per the guidelines of Janani Shishu Suraksha Program. Also all central and state government schemes like Janani Suraksha Yojana, Janani Shishu Suraksha Program, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana are provided free of charge,” she said.
Senior health official from the state health department said they have also taken a programme for newly married couples especially women, who are being checked for diabetes, body mass index (BMI), HIV, blood groups, weight, height, haemoglobin and sickle cell and long-term conditions and diseases such as hypertension, tuberculosis, severe anaemia, epilepsy, cardiac ailments, reproductive tract infections and goitre.
“Any woman with BMI less than 18.5 or more than 25 would be referred to medical experts, who will test them for diabetes, HIV, sickle cell, hypertension, cardiac ailments and TB. If a woman has any of these medical conditions, she will be referred to doctors for further treatments,” he said.