Women are blessed with a unique ability, i.e. to give birth. A woman nurtures her child in her womb for nine months, puts her body through a lot of misery in form of sickness, labour pain, and so on; hoping to deliver a healthy baby with safety. However, this does not always go in the desired manner, especially in a poor country like ours.
In India, owing to poor facilities, nutrition or lack of support, often the mother suffers from some complication causing her to lose her life during childbirth. Not just the mothers, it has been discovered that almost half of the children born in India die within 28 days of their birth.
National Safe Motherhood Day
National Safe Motherhood Day (NSMD) is observed annually on 11 April to raise awareness about the proper healthcare of women and maternity facilities to pregnant and lactating women. This day also focuses on reducing anaemia among women, institutional delivery, for better pre and postnatal health care etc. which are necessary for mothers. In addition to this, it also raises awareness for the prevention of child marriages because we can say that child marriage may be an indirect cause of maternal deaths. It is the right for every woman to take good quality nutrition proper healthcare services during and after pregnancy and childbirth.
History of National Safe Motherhood Day
National Safe Motherhood Day is celebrated since 2003 on the birth anniversary of Kasturba Gandhi – wife of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the father of our nation. It is celebrated due to the initiative of the White Ribbon Alliance India (WRAI) with an aim to provide and inform women about healthcare habits and availability and accessibility of various healthcare programs during pregnancy, childbirth and post-natal services.
Civil Servants who did exemplary work to address the issue of Safe Motherhood
1. Amarjit Singh
Amarjit Singh was posted in the state of Gujarat between 2001 and 2009. there were only seven obstetricians in the rural areas in the Community Health Centres while 273 were required. Maternal mortality in rural India had worsened with development, from 448 deaths 1992-93 to 619 in 1998-99.
In order to aid the poor women who could not afford expensive treatment provided by the private facilities, he coopted private obstetricians in the Chiranjeevi scheme. Tapping into the expertise of the NGO, Sewa and the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India, he got a schedule of rates, ensured an advance of Rs 25,000 to each private practitioner, offering Rs 1,79,500 for 100 deliveries, took responsibility for women with low haemoglobin and kept it open only to those below the poverty line. Started in five districts in 2006, the scheme was able to provide safe delivery facilities to 2,08,079 mothers till January 2010. Between January 2007 and January 2010, 4,35,047 safe deliveries have been carried out by 768 obstetricians.
2. Kiran Kumar Pasi
There is a major trust deficit among people and government. Especially when it comes to healthcare. The patients prefer to visit private hospitals than the government healthcare system even though they find it difficult to afford because of lack of trust. In an effort to restore the trust of people of her district, Kiran Kumar Pasi, an IAS officer posted in Godda region of Jharkhand set an example by giving birth to her newborn baby at a government hospital instead of opting for a private hospital.