Srinagar- As the newly unveiled data in National Family Health Survey’s fifth series has already revealed that several of Jammu and Kashmir’s health indicators, especially among women, have worsened since the fourth round of the survey, but the erstwhile state has hit a major welcome development as the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR), according to a new data has been recorded as the second lowest in India.
Notably, the MMR figures for J&K have been calculated by the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, GMC Srinagar with support of the Department of Health and Family Welfare.
As per the data, the MMR of J&K has been calculated at 46, which is apparently lower and comparable with other states of India that have better health care facilities for pregnant women.
Talking to Kashmir Observer, Prof Muhammad Salim Khan, head of SPM department, GMC Srinagar said that J&K has achieved a milestone as the MMR figures reveal the better state of Health infrastructure for maternity care presently in place in the valley.
"The MMR in J&K was recorded at 46, which is the second lowest after Kerala," he said.
As per another data by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, which was launched earlier this year on 12 February, the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) for India was recorded at 113 which is relatively much higher than the average of J&K. Pertinently; J&K’s MMR figure of 46 is the same as Maharashtra.
As per data, a copy of which lies with Kashmir Observer, the lowest MMR in India was recorded in Kerala where the figure(43 MMR) is quite comparable with J&K.
It is pertinent to mention here that as per one of the last Maternal Mortality Ratio surveys conducted in the erstwhile state, the Maternal Deaths for J&K were recorded at 405 that is relatively higher than the latest figures available on maternal deaths in J&K. As per the 1999 survey, the highest maternal deaths were recorded in Pulwama (48) and Kathua (40).
As per a report by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) published in 2003, the MMR in J&K was recorded at 196 with a birth rate of 19.6.
Notably, as per a report, “Estimates and Correlates of District-Level Maternal Mortality Ratio in India by Srinivas Goli.”, the Maternal Mortality Ratio for J&K was estimated to be 140-209.
As per the independent survey, the total percentage of reported live births out of estimated live births was recorded at 90 percent between 2017-19. The report further suggests that MMR in J&K as per HMIS (2017-19) was recorded at 151. As per the data available, during the same period the highest MMR was recorded in Shopian district.
“There was not any substantial and reliable data on much needed maternal mortality in J&K before we collected the basic data that helped the researchers in calculating the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in J&K.” Prof Khan told Kashmir Observer.
“The MMR in J&K is amongst the lowest and highlights the better maternal and child health care across all the strata from grassroot level at sub-centres and PHCs to referral & tertiary care level hospitals,” he said.
He further added that the MMR is basically deaths of women during pregnancy, childbirth, or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, per 100,000 live births per year. “If more emphasis is laid on preventing deaths, MMR in J&K can reach the lowest in the country. This needs efforts by all stakeholders as we finally have a reference figure to help us manoeuvre the efforts.” he said.
Maternal Mortality Ratio refers to deaths due to complications from pregnancy or childbirth. The MMR is a key performance indicator for efforts to improve the health and safety of mothers before, during, and after childbirth in any region.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.