Free medical camps, set up to aid pregnant women, may help reduce maternal mortality in Haryana. The city of Gurugram has unveiled plans for a new a public-private partnership to tackle health issues related to pregnancy.
India has long shown a terrible track record in terms of maternal deaths, though over recent years this high rate of mortality has come down. The numbers are still abysmally high: in 2015 a total of 45,000 maternal deaths occurred in India, accounting for roughly a sixth of global maternal deaths. The global average has fallen by 44 percent since 1990.
The cause behind maternal deaths are varied. Jean McEwan, Professor of Clinical Education and Consultant Cardiologist, Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, UK studied 124 maternal deaths in India. Results from the study indicate that 23.4% deaths were caused by postpartum haemorrhage, 17.7% from anaemia, 4.8% from antepartum haemorrhage/severe pre-eclampsia and 14% from eclampsia.
Deaths caused by anaemia are entirely preventable by providing antenatal blood tests to assess blood iron levels leading up to the birth. Though in-depth details of the pregnancy camps have not yet been released, this could provide a simple means of tackling what has been found to potentially comprise 17.7% of maternal deaths.
The Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA), established by Prime Minister Modi in 2016 seems the precursor to this Gurguram initiative, inviting private sector medical outlets to provide antenatal care for free on the 9th of every month to address the issue of the maternal mortality rate.
Of the details of Gurugram’s programme that have been announced, the plans very much follow Modi’s PMSMA programme, with free camps aiming to be present on the 9th of every month. The camps will be established in 21 locations and thus far have sixteen private doctors volunteering diagnostics services at fifteen of the camps. Many of the camps will take place at general hospitals and one of the camps will have access to two ultrasound machines and two radiologists.
These pregnancy camps show that PMSMA policies are being implemented, which bodes well for the continued reduction in maternal mortality rates over the coming years. The design of the strategy focuses on areas of weaker economic background, this centres the plan around areas in which mortality rates are higher and so may see a degree of success over the coming years.