With nearly six lakh women dying from pregnancy-related causes every year, “safe motherhood” has become a human rights issue. To sensitise people about the mothers who die after childbirth, the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) , along with the Bangalore Society of Obstetric and Gynaecology (BSOG), organised a walkathon on the occasion of Safe Motherhood Day here on Sunday.

The walkathon that began from the K.C. General Hospital in Malleswaram and culminated at the same point, was aimed at ensuring that all women received the care they needed to be safe and healthy throughout pregnancy and childbirth.

Flagging off the walkathon, S. Selva Kumar, Mission Director of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), spoke about the pressing need to spread awareness about the pitiful state of mother's care in the country.

Pointing out that several strategies to improve maternal health had been chalked out under NRHM, he said the focus was on reducing the maternal mortality rate, which is 254 per lakh live births at present.

“To increase institutional deliveries, nearly half of the ‘108' ambulances are being used for maternity purposes. Our main objective is to improve coverage and quality of antenatal care, identify high risk areas and provide nutrition to women,” he said.

FOGSI president Sanjay Gupte and Medical Superintendent of K.C. General Hospital M. Viswaradhya reaffirmed the need to spread awareness about maternal care by reaching out to all corners of the country, especially villages.

Calling the present mortality rate a “shame for India,” Sheela. V. Mane, chairperson of the Safe Motherhood Committee, said it was vital for private organisations to work along with the Government to ensure that the Millennium Development Goal of reducing the mortality rate by 2015 was met.

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