24 September, 2020

Mother India: Ground Report

A UNICEF report confirms India's ugly truth: a blighted record of maternity death

Jitender Gupta
Mother India: Ground Report
Seventeen-year-old Chhaya is one of the few lucky mothers here to have survived childbirth. Her family thinks it's nothing short of divine grace that she managed to deliver a baby boy early last month. Bleeding profusely, she was brought to the Dholpur district hospital on a tractor, a bone-breaking ride that took over two hours to cover the 45 km from Tontri village. The doctor in charge directed the heavily-haemorrhaging Chhaya to a private clinic where, after shelling out Rs 500, she had her baby. Today, Chhaya is barely able to take care of the infant, but the family is happy to see mother and child alive. "I thought I'd die," says Chhaya.

Others like her are usually dead by the time they make it to the nearest hospital. Dholpur district in Rajasthan, which also happens to be Chief Minister Vasundhararaje's husband's hometown, has the dubious distinction of recording the highest number of maternity deaths in the state. The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) here is as high as 670 deaths per one lakh births. Pregnant women are often taken on...


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