Every five minutes a pregnant woman dies in India: WHO

17 June 2016

The World Health Organisation said at least one woman dies during pregnancy and child birth every five minutes in India.

It added that of the 529,000 maternal deaths occurring every year, 136,000 or 25.7 per cent happened in India.

''In fact, two-thirds of maternal deaths occur after delivery, postpartum haemorrhage being the most commonly reported complication. The incidence of emergency postpartum hysterectomies is about 83/100,000 with a maternal mortality of 17.7% and a prenatal mortality of 37.5%,'' said a WHO statement.

Postpartum bleeding or postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) is defined as loss of over 500 ml or 1,000 ml of blood within first 24 hours of child birth.

Due to the high frequency of PPH incidence in India, it is unlikely that the country would achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 focused on reducing maternal mortality and achieving universal access to reproductive health care.

''The latest estimates of maternal mortality rate (MMR) in India from 2011-13, show an average of 167 deaths/100,000 live births. The same estimates also demonstrate that wide geographical disparities persist. The highest MMR can be found in Assam (300) and the lowest in Kerala (61),'' the statement added.

The WHO said blood was in chronic short supply in India. According to the WHO every country needed at least a 1 per cent reserve.

''India, with its population of 1.2 billion people, needs 12 million units of blood annually but collects only nine million -- a 25% deficit.''

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