With one maternal death reported every 10 minutes, India is likely to miss the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) related to maternal health, a latest United Nations report says. While there is an improvement from maternal death in every six minutes in 2010 to 10 minutes now, the MDG target in this respect is unlikely to be met, the report said.

At present, the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) of India is 212 per one lakh live births, whereas the country’s target is 109 per one lakh live births by 2015.

The United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals Report of the U.N. Secretary-General, 2012, which assesses the regional progress on eight MDGs the world promised to meet, suggests that although progress has been made on improvements in maternal health, actual targets remain far from achieving the desired rate.

Maternal deaths are defined as the number of women who die during pregnancy or within 42 days of the termination of pregnancy. India has reduced MMR significantly from 437 per one lakh live births in 1999 to 212 now, but needs to hasten the pace under the National Rural Health Mission to achieve the related MDG.

The MDG Report 2012 points out that an estimated 2,87,000 maternal deaths occurred in 2010 worldwide. This represents a decline of 47 per cent from 1990 when the MDGs were set.

“Of the total maternal death burden worldwide, sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 56 per cent and South Asia accounts for 29 per cent. Together the two regions made up for 85 per cent of the global maternal death burden in 2010,” states the report released by noted economist Jayati Ghosh of Jawaharlal Nehru University.

India has done better on infant health, and is well within reaching the MDG of reducing IMR to 42 per 1000 live births. As per the latest estimates, India’s IMR stands at 47. India’s progress on the MDG of combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB is also satisfactory.

India needs to focus on Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, where the MMR is still high.

To achieve this, MDG 5 (on maternal health) India needs to reduce maternal mortality (MMR) from 437 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1991 to 109 by 2015. It has only reached the 212 mark.

The UN MDG Report 2012 points out that overall, three important targets on poverty, slums and water have been met three years ahead of the 2015 deadline. The share of people living on less than $1.25 a day has reduced to less than half as compared to 1990.

The proportion of people with improved access to drinking water has risen from 76 per cent in 1990 to 89 per cent in 2010.

As many as 237 million Indians are still living in hunger though India has managed to meet the first MDG of reducing people in extreme poverty by half between 1990 and 2015.