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India Steps Up to Strengthen Maternal Health

3 Mar 2020 4:32 PM | EKAM Foundation (Administrator)

Maternal Mortality rates are still high in India, indicating violation of women’s human right to life and health. Access to adequate information about maternal health rights and available services are essential aspects of realizing women’s power to accessible health care.

Causes of Maternal Mortality—

Under-nutrition adversely affects a large part of Women in India. An Undernourished mother inevitably gives birth to a low birth weight infant. Poor nutrition starts in the embryo and extends throughout the life cycle. Due to economic and social distress, many women continue to work up to the last days of their pregnancy.

Anemia—one of the most common conditions among Indian women, can result in maternal mortality, weakness, increased morbidity from infectious diseases, premature delivery, low birth weight. The children face impaired cognitive performance, motor development and academic achievement.

One of the main challenges India has faced in the past is attempting to improve maternal health.


Currently, the government is emphasizing on creating national programs for better maternal health outcomes. The “Ministry of Health and Family Welfare” provides iron and folic acid, immunizations, calcium and deworming tablets, counselling to pregnant women as part of antenatal care services and safe institutional delivery services. The Ministry has also decided to provide supplementary food as micronutrient-fortified food and energy-dense take-home ration for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.

There are many ‘Schemes started by the Central and the State Government’ that are proving better maternal health outcomes. Some of the essential programs are the Janani Suraksha Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, Village Health and Nutrition Days, Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram, Wage Compensation Scheme for pregnant women, weekly Iron Folic Acid Supplementation, and Poshan Abhiyan.

The Prime Minister’s scheme for holistic nutrition—Poshan Abhiyaan, launched in 2018 is a multi-ministerial mission with the vision to ensure a malnutrition free India by 2022. The program aims to provide holistic development and adequate nutrition for pregnant women, mothers and children.

The ‘Janani Suraksha Yojana’ is a safe motherhood program that provides cash assistance for delivery and post-delivery care under the National Health Mission. The mission aims to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality by promoting institutional delivery among the poor pregnant women.

The Pradhan Mantri ‘Matru Vandana Yojana’ is a maternity benefit program, that is implemented in all the districts of the country. It provides a cash incentive for pregnant women and lactating mothers as partial wage compensation, for wage-loss during childbirth and childcare and also to provide conditions for safe delivery and proper nutrition and feeding practices.

At the provincial level, the “Village Health and Nutrition Days” are organized to create awareness among pregnant women, lactating mothers and children. They encourage them for antenatal check-ups, good breastfeeding practices, family planning and immunization, to achieve better maternal and child health.

The above programs not only strengthen maternal healthcare but also reduce the out of pocket expenses of the poor to receive healthcare. The challenge in implementing the programs is extending to all the assignee. At the district level, there is a lack of awareness regarding the maternal health services provided. The Government of India’s—National Rural Livelihood Mission is one of the world’s most significant capabilities for the betterment of the livelihoods of poor rural women and boost their economy.

There is a requirement for improving maternal nutrition under new schemes such as Poshan Abhiyan as it will help reduce the prevalence of stunting and low birth weight among children.

The regional inequities concerning maternal health need to be addressed through improved monitoring systems to enable evidence-based policymaking.

Our team at EKAM Foundation can guide you through this. EKAM is a non-profit organization that compliments the government schemes, to help the underprivileged infants, children and mothers.

Log onto to learn more about how EKAM can help build and sustain a community culture and platform that supports and encourages people to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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