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Major pan-India initiative launched to reduce MMR

Y.Mallikarjun
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With 27 million deliveries taking place in the country each year, a massive pan-India initiative has been launched by the apex body of obstetricians and gynaecologists to reduce MMR (maternal mortality rate) and ensure that mother survives during childbirth.

The initiative seeks to build the skills of medical officers and frontline healthcare workers like nurses through standardized evidence-based protocol to tackle bleeding after birth and hypertensive disorders, which together account for 60-70 per cent maternal deaths, according to Hema Divakar, president of the Federation of Obstetric & Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI).

Fast track teams

She told The Hindu that under the ‘save mother’ initiative, fast track teams from FOGSI have been visiting both government and private hospitals across the country to train and upgrade the skills with the use of an innovative machine -- Mama Natalie -- a birthing simulator which mimics the entire process of delivery.

It was being used to basically to improve the skills, she added.

Dr. Hema pointed out that there were hardly 27,000 obstetricians and gynaecologists in the country while the deliveries were in the region of 27 million a year. Unlike in the West, there was no midwifery cadre in India, she said. FOGSI in collaboration with jhpiego, an international non-profit organisation affiliated with Johns Hopkins University, has trained 100 master trainers (obstetricians and gynaecologists) and 2,500 frontline healthcare workers in the last three months.

She said 100 medical colleges were involved in the mission which in turn would be linked to nearby maternity institutions. She said that implementing the training module would revolutionise maternal healthcare in India and contribute hugely in reducing MMR, which was around 212 per 1 lakh live births nationally. A study carried out by PATH, an NGO, in Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka showed that adherence to the protocol reduced MMR to zero percentage.

Dr. Hema said the training was free of cost and being implemented aggressively in the South, but was a bit slack in the northern and eastern States. It would be stepped up in those States from the second round to begin in August, 2013.

She said it was planned to train 1,000 master trainers in the next five years and the objective under the mission was to reduce all-India MMR to 100 per 1 lakh live births.

Efforts on to build skills of medical officers and frontline healthcare workers to tackle bleeding after birth and hypertensive disorders which account

for 60-70 p.c. maternal deaths


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