According to the World Health Organization, a “maternal death” is defined as the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration or site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or the management, but not from accidental or incidental cause. Maternal mortality is not only related to the health-care provided by a country, but also to the country’s socio-economic and cultural aspects, in which women are usually at a great disadvantage. Most maternal deaths are avoidable and should be avoided. This essay discusses the relation between high literacy rates and low mortality rates in different states in India. The Office of the Registrar General, India, under the Ministry of Home Affairs compiled a Special Bulletin on Maternal Mortality in India for the years 2007-2009 using the Sample Registration System (SRS). This Special Bulletin was published in June, 2011 and shows that the number of states that have realized the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) set by the United Nations have gone up three against one. One of the main goals was to reduce the Maternal Mortality Rate to 200 maternal deaths per lakh of live births by the year 2007 and to 109 maternal deaths per lakh of live births by the year 2015. In order to understand the changes more appropriately, the states in India have been categorized into three main groups. The first group was called the “Empowered Action Group” (EAG) states consisting of Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Assam. The second group consisted of the “Southern” states including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The third and final group consisted of “Other” states which included the remaining states and Union Territories. The Maternal Mortality Ratio is shown to have declined from 254 in 2004-2006 to 212 in 2007-2009. As per the data in the Special...
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