RESEARCH ARTICLE ON
MATERNAL HEALTH & STATUS OF WOMEN IN RAJASTHAN
“Maternal deaths are both caused by poverty and are a cause for it. The cost of childbirth can quickly exhaust a family’s income, bringing more financial hardship.” -Tamar Manuelyan, Vice President for Human Development at the World Bank.
Maternal health refers to the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. Many developing nations lack apposite health care and family planning. Furthermore, pregnant women have minimal access to skilled labor and emergency care. Bare basic emergency obstetric interventions, such as antibiotics, oxytoxics, anticonvulsants, manual removal of placenta, and instrumented vaginal delivery, are vital to improve the scope for survival. In India, mostly child and adolescent girls are married off at very young age according to the National Family Health Survey 3. These girls face reproductive problems, especially for gynecological problems, family planning and perceived fertility problems as girls were expected to conceive in the first year of marriage. Issues like menstrual disorders and infection in the reproductive tract are generally neglected. Major causes of maternal mortality include postpartum hemorrhage, eclampsia, obstructed labor, sepsis etc.
National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2005-2006 revealed that Rajasthan is one the Indian states having low status of women. Early marriages of children are still a prevalent phenomenon. Keeping all these, this paper examines extent, degree and causes of maternal death in Rajasthan. The article will further look into the potential for policy and law of the State in intervention to improve maternal health.
Keywords: postpartum period, maternal morality, hemorrhage, eclampsia, sepsis, oxytocics, anti-convulsants, placenta.
Maternal health refers to the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. While motherhood is often a positive and fulfilling experience, for too many women it is associated with suffering, ill-health and even death. Not very long ago, it was left to fate to decide how a pregnant woman and her unborn child would fare, but a slow change towards birth preparedness is taking place in some villages of Rajasthan’s Jodhpur district. Women are beginning to get aware of the need to eat properly, check blood pressure and weight regularly and write down the phone number of the local jeep or van driver to call when birth pains begin or in case of any emergency. 1With a maternal mortality ratio (MMR) of approximately 335 per 100,000 live-births, the state of Rajasthan contributes significantly to India's burden of maternal deaths. Rajasthan sets the stage for this high MMR, both in terms of its terrain and the socio-cultural environment of women's lives. This paper reviews maternal health in Rajasthan and the development and present status of maternal health services in the state. Women's lives
2Across caste and religious groups, a woman's personal and social status is limited to her being wife and mother. Marriage is consequently universal for girls and is governed by caste and kinship norms. 76% of women in the age-group of 20-49 years are married by the age of 18 years, according to the National Family Health Survey 3. The low family status and inadequate control by women over resources have affected many aspects of their lives. Preference to son is reinforced, with women bearing more children in the quest for sons (total fertility rate in 2005-2006 was 3.2, and it was 3.6 for rural women) High fertility, in turn, increases the lifetime risk of maternal death. On the other hand, in urban and some semi-urban areas, a lowering of fertility has combined with son preference in the form of sex-selective abortion. Women's autonomy has direct bearing on health care-seeking behaviour and healthcare-use. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2005-2006...
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