Friday, October 27, 2006

Gram sabhas raise issue of maternal mortality

Published in The Pioneer, October 25, 2006, Bhopal Edition

High maternal mortality rate (MMR) in Madhya Pradesh was an issue of debate in the gram sabhas held recently in local panchayats of Gwalior, Chambal, Vindhyachal and Bundelkhand regions of the State. Approximately 50 such special gram sabhas have been organised till now. People who have attended gram sabhas have made out a demand note, which they are sharing with the district administration for implementation.

Jan Adhikar Manch, a network of NGOs working on raising concern over the high maternal mortality in Madhya Pradesh, as a part of their 'save our mothers' campaign in collaboration with local panchayats held various gram sabhas. Sandesh Bansal State coordinator of the Manch told The Pioneer that in these sabhas, the villagers are sensitized about the various schemes available for their benefit being run by the State.Issue of high maternal deaths and lack of adequate facilities in the pancahyat for women health and lack of staff at the primary health centres and anganwadi were the main points. Benefits of the Deen Dayal Antoyadaya Yojana not accruing to all those below the poverty line category, weak village health societies, poor infrastructure and lack of health facilities at the village level were some of the points that came up for discussion.

In Maanpura in Bhind district, more than 200 people had participated wherein issue of the schemes benefit not accruing to all came up in the discussions.During the sabha, people also felt that there was an acute shortage of water in the village and women had to travel long distances to collect water, which impacted on their health especially the pregnant.Bansal also informed, "We have also written to the Chief Minister urging his intervention to help strengthen efforts to combat high maternal deaths.

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