Sharmila Tagore, UNICEF's National Goodwill Ambassador, reached out to pregnant women in Jharkhand on Monday to gain first-hand knowledge of maternal health in the State.
“In a State, where 70 per cent of women are anaemic, more than 80 per cent of childbirths take place at home,” she said here on Monday.
Ms. Tagore visited the Sadar hospital to review the medical services provided to pregnant mothers. She also apprised herself of the condition of adolescent girls there.
Talking to the media, Ms. Tagore said: “UNICEF has established a self-help call centre linked to the community-owned vehicles that provide round-the-clock service in all the 24 districts [of the State]. This programme is widely known as Mamta Wahan. The objective of this project is to ensure safe delivery practices and to increase institutional deliveries.”
Mostly the deaths are because of lack of general awareness and knowledge about timely referral services. Gender discrimination is also a factor. Spacing between children is only possible when the women are educated and empowered. Prevention of child marriage is another factor which will decrease the number of maternal deaths in Jharkhand.”
She also said that women in the State should have atleast the minimum education necessary to take proper medication and avail medical facilities provided by the government.
“The most important aspect is to create an enabling environment for the women to become more empowered to take care of their own health. The government should come up with more innovative medical intervention but it will not work if the women are not educated,” she said.