MP continues to have third worst maternal mortality ratio; worst child mortality

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Despite a drop of 10 points in a year, Madhya Pradesh continues to have the third worst maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in the country, making it one of the most vulnerable states as far as maternal health is concerned.

MMR is the death of mothers during or related to child birth per lakh live births. MMR, along with child mortality rates, are considered important health indices as they indicate the situation of the health of women and children, nutritional status as well as the level of efficacy of the health services available to people.

Given that the state also has highest infant, neonatal and under five mortality rates in the country despite steady decline in the death rates, the figures have again underlined the need for Madhya Pradesh to keep up its efforts to improve mother-child health and nutrition scenario, experts feel.

The Special Bulletin on Maternal Mortality in India for 2017-19, released recently by the Registrar General of India (RGI) office under the Sample Registration System (SRS), shows that the MMR for MP stands at 163 per lakh live births during the two-year period, down 10 points from 2016-18 period (173).

Only Uttar Pradesh with MMR of 167 and Assam at 205 are worse off than MP. However, UP has managed to reduce as much as 30 points compared to the 2016-18 period, while Assam dropped 10 points similar to MP.

At India level, MMR stands at 103 per lakh live births, also down 10 points from 113 in 2016-18. The global MMR target under sustainable development goals (SDG) of World Health Organisation (WHO) is 70 per lakh live births by 2030.

In its national health policy of 2017, India had gunned for a target to reduce MMR below 100 by 2020, but has failed to achieve the goal even by the latest report. According to the latest report, nine states in the country have managed to reduce the MMR to below 100, among them the five south Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, apart from Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana.

Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand upswing

The states of Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand, for which MMR data was released separately (from Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh respectively) in the 2015-17 bulletin, continue to show an upswing in MMR figures. Experts feel this might be due to the impact of bifurcation of data in 2015-17.

Chhattisgarh reported MMR of 160 in the latest report, just a point up from the 2016-18 status, while Uttarakhand worsened by two points to report MMR of 101 compared to 99 in previous report. In 2015-17, when separate data was first given out, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand had reported MMRs of 141 and 89 respectively, quite low compared to parent states of MP and UP.

MP has highest neonatal, under-five mortality rates

A recently released special status report on child mortality based on the SRS 2019 data of October 2021 shows that Madhya Pradesh has highest neonatal mortality rate (NMR), early neonatal mortality (ENMR) and under five mortality (U5MR) in the country, along with highest infant mortality rate (IMR).

The IMR indicates number of children dying within a year of their birth per 1000 live births (PTLB), NMR is the number of deaths within a month of birth, ENMR that within a week and U5MR are the deaths of children under five years of age PTLB.

The 2021 SRS report, giving out the status of year 2019, had shown that MP had the highest IMR of 46 per thousand live births in the country, compared to the national average of 36. The latest status report gives out the details, showing that the state has NMR of 33, ENMR of 25 and U5MR of 53. While the other three mortality rates have gone down by two points each compared to SRS 2018, ENMR has gone down by just a point.

For India, NMR is 22, ENMR is 16, while U5MR stands at 35, showing that MP has a long way to go to get nearer the national average.

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