J&K now has Maternal Mortality figure, and it’s low

Maternal Mortality Data compiled first time ever; Comparable to best states in India
J&K now has Maternal Mortality figure, and it’s low
The statistical document states that 91 maternal deaths were reported during the period of data collection while the number of live births was reported to be 1.98. Pxhere [Creative Commons]

Srinagar: For the first time ever, J&K’s maternal mortality rate has been calculated filling in a void in data that existed for decades. With MMR of 46, the figure is comparable to the states with the best healthcare in India.

In February this year, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare published Maternal Mortality Rate data of states and Union Territories. However, like every year, J&K was omitted from this compilation as there was no compilation of the MMR of the UT.

The exercise had never been carried out and Census, Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI), HMIS and other healthcare data banks drew a blank against Maternal Mortality Ratio of J&K. Greater Kashmir had raised the issue of lack of MMR figures in the past but had not drawn any reaction from the healthcare administrators.

Now, the MMR figure of J&K has been calculated by the Department of Health and Family Welfare and the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine GMC Srinagar.

The MMR of J&K, as per the data compilation is 46. The statistical document states that 91 maternal deaths were reported during the period of data collection while the number of live births was reported to be 1.98. The MMR figure of 46 is the same as Maharashtra, comparable to 43 MMR of Kerala (lowest in India) and much lower than the national MMR of 113. In India, Assam has the highest MMR of 215.

Director General Health and Family Welfare J&K, Dr Saleem ur Rehman said that it was “a blot” that J&K had good ratings in terms of all the healthcare status indicators but had no data on MMR. He said even the latest National Family Health Survey 5 (NFHS 5), Sample Registration Survey and other health analytics did not attempt to collect the data. “With such a robust healthcare system, we did not want to hide the data of maternal deaths but it was just never compiled,” he said. “We collaborated with SPM of GMC Srinagar and now we have data to refer to for our interventions and policies,” he added. Dr Rehman said that the exercise of MMR calculation was an intensive one and involved cross-checking and referring to a number of records. “Each and every maternal death was verified and corroborated.”

Prof S Salim Khan, head SPM GMC Srinagar said J&K has achieved drastically decreasing infant mortality over the last decade. “However, there was not any substantial and reliable data on maternal mortality,” he said. He said the primary data provided through established links helped the researchers in calculating the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in J&K. “The MMR in J&K is again amongst the lowest and highlights better maternal and child health care across all strata from grass-root level at sub-centres and PHCs to referral & tertiary care level hospitals,” he said. He further said that with more emphasis on preventable deaths, MMR in J&K could reach the lowest in the country. “This needs efforts by all stakeholders and now we have a reference figure to help us steer the efforts,” he said.

The data compilation also shows that there is disparity between safe motherhood status of various districts. While the MMR figure for Srinagar is zero, for districts like Pulwama and Poonch, the figure is over 100. Most of the maternal deaths have taken place in Lal Ded Hospital in Kashmir, the largest maternity hospital of J&K followed by SMGS Hospital Jammu.

Greater Kashmir
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