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Maternal Health:From Concern to Confidence

Experiencing an intendedpregnancy is a critical period in every woman’s life.This period can be the most exciting phase if women believe that their health is well taken care of. Post-2014, offering a plethora of schemes and initiatives, PM Modi has worked to ensure the safety of pregnant women and new-borns.

Considering the importance of antenatal care in improving the new-born and maternal health and wellbeing, PM Modi launched Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyanin 2016. The scheme provides assured, comprehensive and quality antenatal care, free of cost, universally to all pregnant women on the 9th of every month. Antenatal care can be highly effective in aiding pregnancy outcomes if it is started early and continued till childbirth. Till December 2019, more than 2.26 crore antenatal check-ups have been done. The scheme by ensuring that all the high-risk pregnancies are identified and treated within the stipulated time has led to a fall in maternal mortality ratio. As per the official statistics, maternal mortality ratio (per 100,000 live births) has fallen significantly from 167 in 2011-13 to 122 in 2015-17.Further, the neonatal mortality rate (per 100,000 live births) fell from 28.3 to 22.7 from 2013 to 2018. Also, the national family health survey highlights that there has been a substantial rise in the proportion of women that received antenatal coverage visits in the first trimester.

Another impactful scheme is Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, which provides monetary assistance so that women can afford nutrition and also take rest before and after the delivery. Till January 2020, more than 1.28 crore women have been benefitted.

Also, one of the most common problems found in pregnant women is anaemia, which is directly related to open defecation. To control this, the Indian government has launched Swachh Bharat that has significantly lowered the open defecation by ensuring rural India becomes 100% free of open defecation.More than 10.90 crore household toilets are built under Swachh Bharat.

Further, understanding the importance of skilled professional to attend all the pregnancies, there are many other schemes such as Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan Initiative, Mission Indradhanush, POSHAN Abhiyan, and Kilkari that works for the betterment of maternal health by providing women timely guidelines and medications.

As per the official statistics, during 2014-2016, the government schemes have resulted in almost one thousand fewer deaths of pregnant women per month. Further, a report published by UNICEF found that in India,health care system has significantly scaled up the nutrition levels by fostering positive practices such as, breastfeeding. By extending the paid maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks, PM Modi has ensured that the representation of females in the labor market is not hampered due to pregnancy. This also helps women spend more time with their new-born without worrying about losing out on their job or salary.

Unintended pregnancies worsen the general quality of life for women. Considering this, there have been several measures that educate people regarding the usage of contraceptives. As a way of empowering women to exercise more control over their choices, there has been an extension of the legal abortion period limit from 20 weeks to 24 weeks. This gives more choice to vulnerable women such as rape victims or women facing health issues due to pregnancy.

The Modi government is empowering the females across all the dimensions of their life – when they are in the womb and even when they are on the verge of giving a new life. Earlier women used to worry about the kind of care they will receive during pregnancy. They used to witness other women facing pregnancy-related issues with due to lack of institutional attention. However, with the several schemes and initiatives to improve maternal health care, there is a sense of confidence among women and their families.



May 28, 2020