Ever since pregnancy, it is a mother who devotes her life to the child. It is a mother who raises children who create the future. However, does this mother who gives her all get adequate maternal healthcare? First of all, what is maternal and child healthcare? It refers to the health of women during their pregnancy and childbirth. This also, of course, comprises of the health of the baby during this time period as well. It is an absolute necessity for women and their budding children to have more than sufficient healthcare facilities during this period.
Now, why is maternal and child healthcare important? Because pregnancy and childbirth are not a cakewalk. It can lead to life threatening diseases or effects. It is a challenging situation- both mentally and physically. Mothers are likely to get anemia, heart diseases, excessive loss of blood, increase in blood pressure and get infected. Their immunity weakens as a major component of themselves is being shared with their child. And the worst situation that could arise and is incredibly likely too would be death during childbirth. Mothers are also more prone to develop mental disorders after childbirth. Ten to fifteen women out of a hundred have reported as to being affected by mental illnesses post childbirth. These most commonly involve depression and anxiety. The amount of threat that pregnancy and childbirth possess is incredibly alarming. Mothers and their children are not just supposed to survive the process of birth but also get through it positively healthy. This is only possible through a good healthcare system for them. Do we have a competent maternal and child healthcare system, though?
In India, perhaps not. Scratch that perhaps, it is a massive and definite “no”. The World Health Organization's reports claim that about 5,36,000 deaths take place during maternity. Out of these 5,36,000 deaths- 1,36,000 are from India. That’s about a quarter of the number of maternal deaths that happen on a global level. These are just the death rates, imagine how many mothers and their children are affected with perilous diseases. Imagine how many mothers must suffer from decaying mental health. Of course, the government is not necessarily blind to this quandary.
However, perhaps, they fail to realize the depth of this quandary. Have they taken initiatives for this problem? Yes. Were they effective? Hardly ever. Let’s take an example. In 2013, Government of India adopted Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health framework. Firstly, they aimed to understand and address the reasons as to why there was rising mortality and morbidity amongst mothers. Later, they initiated programmes and strategies in order to provide comprehensive healthcare to new mothers. The result expected from this mission was zero preventable maternal deaths and a significantly high quality of maternal care. Did they achieve that? Somewhat. The number of maternal deaths significantly reduced by 2016-18. However, women from rural areas and poor regions are still unable to
access the requisite healthcare and services. Diseases and life-threatening conditions still occur. Mental health, as always, is neglected.
However, on a brighter side, schemes such as The Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) and Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) are currently being
implemented. More women from rural areas, urban slums, adolescent mothers, minority women and more are being reached out to in order to improve maternal healthcare and
the access that they have to it. Mothers are perpetually going the extra mile; it is time for the people to go the extra mile for the health and safety of mothers.
22 JSIA BAGA