Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Mother, die who cares

Pregnancy is in itself the most creative characteristic of nature, but in reality it is the most painful for her. Be it physical pain, mental pain or society's doubts, everything is related somehow to pregnancy.

Out of this amount, hardly Rs 32.12 lakhs was spent in Madhya Pradesh although the state stands the most serious threat as far as rate of deaths during and after pregnancy is concerned. A study conducted by the Centre for Advocacy reveals that 53.7 per cent actual beneficiaries are not aware of any such scheme and among those who know, hardly 0.8 per cent have benefited from it. They believe that they cannot obtain any benefits from the scheme because no one can extend help to them as per procedure.

The Commissioners of the Supreme Court ( in the right to Food public interest litigation) in their sixth report clearly questioned the character of the state saying the Supreme Court in its order dt Nov 28, 2001 directed state governments/ Union Territories to implement National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS) by paying all pregnant women RS 500, 8-12 weeks prior to delivery for each of the first two births.

In other words, the most important feature of this Supreme Court of India order was to convert the scheme into a universal entitlement of all BPL pregnant women. The court order was an important step towards looking at material relief as a source for ensuring food security needs of women and her children, during the critical maternity stage, who were hitherto uncovered by any form of social security targeted for this stage. This also for the first time ensured maternity relief as a legal entitlement for women in the unorganized sector, who are glaringly denied the need for special care during this period.

But the reality is too bitter. The analysis establishes that the Government of Madhya Pradesh has played a highly un-accountable role in implementing this scheme. In Madhya Pradesh, the Government provided benefits of this scheme to 22,346 BPL women beneficiaries against the annual target of 5,97,700 to cover BPL pregnant women; it means the state could provide right to health care only to a part of 3.7 per cent of the total entitled women.

Despite a peaceful society, political stability and abundance of natural resources, Madhya Pradesh races ahead in death rate of mothers-to-be and young mothers. At least 498 out of one lakh women die while giving birth. 77pc child births take place outside hospitals and 53pc births are managed by untrained persons in Madhya Pradesh. Although, this data has also been challenged by different studies, even the Govt of MP carried out MP Family Welfare Programme Evaluation Survey (MPFWPES) 2003 throughout the state which covered 25pc of the rural population of the state. This survey provides the estimates of maternal mortality ratio for rural areas of MP, without Chhattisgarh. According to the MPFWPES-2003, the risk of death due to complications of pregnancy and child birth in the rural areas of the state was 763 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births. The estimates provided by the Rapid House Hold Survey suggest a maternal mortality ratio of 597 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births for the year 1999. Unfortunately, all these figures present a bleak picture that the women of MP carry both a substantially high risk of death due to complications of pregnancy, delivery and in post partum period and a substantially high life time risk of death due to reproduction associated consequences.
As a result, 70.87 pc women died due to excessive bleeding, infections, insecurity and high blood pressure. A study done by the Bhopal based organization Centre for Advocacy reveals the fact that only 35pcc people know about such schemes and 6 pc have availed of its benefits.
The life of a woman is based on food traditions, other beliefs and age-old traditions which are far from human. Her life shows how she is given leftovers to eat, her nutrition is uncared for, the very social and family atmosphere, in which she lives and breathes, draws outlines of her bleak, unhealthy future. A sick life is nurtured with dearth of proper nutrition, security, entertainment and independence. She has no right to nutrition.

Pregnancy is in itself the most creative characteristic of nature, but in reality it is the most painful for her. Be it physical pain, mental pain or society's doubts, everything is related somehow to pregnancy.

The truth is that while only 43pc of women get their deliveries done under trained `dais', 77pc women do not see the need for medical facilities and undergo unsafe deliveries. Not less than 54 out of every 10,000 women dies during child birth and the reason for the death of one out of 48 women is related to pregnancy or delivery complications.

This argument here that women stay hungry because of dearth of grains because of poverty is wrong. Had this been true, 80 pc women would not have fallen prey to anemia. The bitter truth is that be jit high, middle or lower class, women are not provided with adequate nutritious food.
The MP Human Development Report and National Family Health Survey reveals that only 20.3 pc women consume milk or curd daily whereas hardly 43pc consume `dal'. It also reveals hardly 5pc get to have fruits and .9 pc women consume eggs and just about half a percent women consume other non-vegetarian food. In fact the male dominated patriarchal social system today is weakening the woman physicallly and mentally so that she is not able to contest for political power and challenge male chauvinism.

By Sachin K Jain - published in Central Chronicle Edit page (May 4, 2006)


Anonymous said...

godd hard byte, it is nice to see that issues like these are up in media and not getting spiked

Anonymous said...

I feel mainstream media still has to clear it stand towards the issues like women and child deaths in MP. Only glamouras phots will not justify the role of newspapers and media.
Manoj Lapalikar, Mumbai