Published in The Hindu - October 5, 2006
Maternal mortality rates in rural areas are among the highest in the world
Call to ensure that the dream of safe motherhood becomes a reality
BHOPAL: A large number of women from villages across Madhya Pradesh have joined a signature (or thumbimpression) campaign to press for their right to health and to call upon the Government to ensure that the dream of safe motherhood becomes a reality.
Manoj Joshi of Voluntary Health Association, an NGO working for the cause of women's health, told The Hindu on Wednesday that the maternal mortality rates in rural areas across the country are among the highest in the world. It is estimated that pregnancy-related deaths account for one-quarter of all fatalities among women aged between 15 and 29, with over two-thirds of them considered preventable.With maternal mortality ratio of 498 per one lakh live births, Madhya Pradesh ranks third in the country when it comes to maternal mortality, he said, adding that there are 13,000 maternal deaths in the State every year.
For every maternal death in India, an estimated 20 more women suffer from impaired health, Mr. Joshi said raising the issue of safe delivery.He said that as part of a special drive to raise concern on this crucial issue, more than 20,000 women from different villages of the State are now in the process of signing (or placing their thumb impression) on a banner demanding the right to health and calling upon the State to ensure that the dream of safe motherhood becomes a reality. Mr. Joshi informed that a network of 60 NGOs, linked with the Madhya Pradesh Voluntary Health Association and Madhya Pradesh Samaj Sewa Sanstha were involved in the signature campaign.
The NGOs have been given two banners each to collect signatures/thumb impressions of women after they are adequately sensitised on the issue of maternal mortality and feel that some concrete action is needed to improve the situation. The women plan to present the banners with their signatures to the State Chief Minister.
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