April 06, 2020
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Aparajita Gogoi

The national coordinator of White Ribbon Alliance in India on Safe Motherhood initiative

Aparajita Gogoi
Aparajita Gogoi

So, April 11 is Safe Motherhood Day.

Yes. It helps to bring attention to the issues of safe motherhood in the country and to urge action to stop the needless maternal deaths.

How grievous is the problem in India?

About 70,000 women die every year from pregnancy and childbirth complications.  

Why is maternal mortality so high in India?

Unfortunately, a woman’s health is dependent on factors like her decision-making capacity, her health status, a family’s readiness to seek care when complications arise, availability of skilled attendants at birth, drugs etc.

Beyond the material factors, you think there is a degree of avoidability here?

As Richard Horton wrote, “Children and mothers are dying because those who have the power to prevent their deaths choose not to act.”

We don’t seem to have any semblance of public debate on the issue. Why?

It’s imperative to create public opinion on maternal health issues in the country.

What is the White Ribbon Alliance?

White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood is a coalition of individuals and organisations to increase public awareness to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for all women and newborns.

What kind of work does the alliance do?

It builds alliances, strengthens capacity, advocates harnessing of resources and urges action in the lives of women and newborns worldwide.

Is the situation changing in India?

Improvements will be gradual but changes are visible. The maternal mortality ratio had decreased to 254 according to srs (2004-06).

Any specific example of improvement?

The implementation of the government’s  nrhm is helping improve the situation. The Janani Suraksha Yojana has increased institutional deliveries manifold in the last few years.

What is the way out?

We have to empower women to take decisions on their health. We all must play a part.

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