Pregnancy-related and infant deaths in India have declined significantly, say the latest data from the Registrar General of India. But there’s not much to cheer as India still lags behind developed nations and even its poorer neighbours.
India’s maternal mortality rate (MMR), or the rate of deaths among women during or after pregnancy, declined by 16% in 2011-12 from 2007-09. Although the MMR dropped from 212 deaths / 1 lakh live births in 2007-09 to 178 in 2010-12, India is behind the target of 103 deaths / per 1 lakh births by 2015 under the UN Millennium Development Goals. While the MMR in southern states fell 17% to 105, closer to the UN goals, Assam and Uttar Pradesh / Uttarakhand were the worst performers, with an MMR of 328 and 292, respectively. Kerala and Tamil Nadu have surpassed the UN goals with an MMR of 66 and 90, respectively.
Infant mortality has declined marginally to 42 deaths / 1,000 live births in 2012 from 44/ 1000 in 2011. While Madhya Pradesh has registered the highest infant mortality at 56/1000, Kerala is the best performer at 12/ 1000. Among metros, Delhi is the worst performer at 30 /1,000. One in every 24 infants at the national level, one in every 22 infants in rural areas, and one in every 36 infants in urban areas still die within one year of life, the report says.
As per the Annual Health Survey (AHS), India has made some progress in hospital-based deliveries. More than 40% of child deliveries in Chhattisgarh and 79% in Madhya Pradesh were institutional in 2012, which is an improvement over earlier data. The data also show that the sex ratio at birth has improved by 2 points to 908 females / 1,000 males in 2010-2012 from 906 /1000 earlier. Chhattisgarh reports the highest sex ratio at birth (979) and Haryana the least (857).