Thursday, Feb 02, 2023 08:00 [IST]

Last Update: Thursday, Feb 02, 2023 02:24 [IST]

For every mother and child

In a new milestone, there has been a significant decline in the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in the country. As per the Special Bulletin on MMR released by the Registrar General of India (RGI), the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of India has improved further by a spectacular 6 points and now stands at 97/ lakh live births. The MMR is defined as the number of maternal deaths during a given time period per 100,000 live births. As per the statistics derived from Sample Registration System (SRS), the country has witnessed a progressive reduction in MMR from 130 in 2014-2016, 122 in 2015-17, 113 in 2016-18, 103 in 2017-19 and to 97 in 2018-20. Upon achieving this, India has accomplished the National Health Policy (NHP) target for MMR of less than 100/lakh live births and is on the right track to achieve the UN-mandated Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target of MMR less than 70/ lakh live births by 2030.

India’s performance on the maternal mortality front has been improving consistently as the country achieves its national target of reducing MMR to below 100. But it still lags behind the SDG target of an MMR equivalent to 70 deaths per 100,000 live births. The country has eight years to meet this benchmark by 2030. Other indicators assessing maternal health indicate large room for improvement.

Every 4.4 seconds in 2021, a child or young person died. About 5 million children died before their fifth birthday, and another 2.1 million died between the ages of 5 and 24. Most of those deaths could have been prevented, according to the United Nations report, "Levels and Trends in Child Mortality," released January 10. What's more heart-breaking than those figures is that a child's chance at survival depends on where they're born. In North America, 6 children per 1,000 die before their fifth birthday. In sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the rates of deaths of infants and children — the under-5 mortality rates — are 74 per 1,000 and 37 per 1,000, respectively. Those areas together account for 70% of childhood deaths in the world.

Globally, the under-5 mortality rate is 38 per 1,000; that's half what it was in 2000. The mortality rate for older children and youth dropped by 37% since 2000, as well, as many countries geared up to follow World Health Organization guidelines. But since 2010, annual improvements have slowed. It's an open question whether more children will die of preventable diseases in the next few years because of COVID-19 related interruptions in health-care delivery and vaccine programs. During the years of the pandemic, vaccinations against measles, pertussis and other preventable diseases plummeted.

Countries need to provide a continuum of care from pregnancy through delivery, to build more clinics along with teams of health-care providers, to provide more equipment and resources in hospitals. We need to invest in tracking the health of every child at least to the age of 5 to see that they are vaccinated and not malnourished.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi