More than 90% of maternal deaths in India are preventable: FOGSI

In India, 300 women die everyday due to pregnancy and childbirth complications. With support from Astra Zeneca, FOGSI, India's apex body on gynaecology and obstetrics, is spreading ‘Safe Motherhood’ message through national TV and Radio network
By: Puneet
July 13, 2007 - PRLog -- In India, as many as 300 women die everyday due to pregnancy and childbirth complications. Over 90% of these deaths are preventable. India’s apex body, the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI), is taking an innovative route to spread the message of Safe Motherhood –through India’s national network radio and television! FOGSI has produced a 13-episode documentary drama titled Jeevan Dor (Life-Line), for radio and television. The docu-drama focuses on maternal mortality in India, which is one of the highest in the world (308/100,000). The radio programme Jeevan Dor has been launched in July this year on AIR’s stations in the Indian states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand.

The 30-minute episodes will feature a dramatized depiction of various complications arising in pregnancy and childbirth, followed by panel discussions with healthcare professionals and opinion leaders. A TV adaptation will follow on Doordarshan in the same states.

“The unique character of this first-of-its kind initiative is that doctors are involved in producing this serial, aimed at reducing maternal mortality through education of mothers-to-be & their families, to deliver at the hospital under supervision of a qualified medical practitioner” said Dr. Pankaj Desai, President, FOGSI. “Since radio and television have the widest reach in rural India, we have chosen these media to reach the Indian woman in her home. A 3-month long, sustained campaign on radio followed by TV would help in creating the necessary awareness. We believe that this very powerful medium will help us spread the message about making motherhood safe for all Indian women,” he added.

The project is being supported by AstraZeneca Pharma India Ltd. as part of its ongoing efforts to promote Safe Motherhood. FOGSI and AstraZeneca have partnered each other for several initiatives together in recent years to increase public awareness and education on this topic.

Mr. Anandh Balasundaram, Managing Director, AstraZeneca Pharma India Pvt. Ltd. said: “AstraZeneca is deeply committed to the cause of Safe Motherhood. The biggest tragedy about maternal mortality is that it is entirely avoidable. That is why FOGSI decided to air Jeevan Dor in maximally effected states of India – where the need is highest and AstraZeneca decided to support it and extend a helping hand.”  

Last year, with support from AstraZeneca, FOGSI had organized ‘Suprabha Ganga Yatra’, a 2400-km walkathon with member doctors walking 20 kms daily along the Ganges, starting from Gangasagar to Gaumukh and Gangotri, to spread Safe Motherhood messages and practices. The objective behind the Yatra was to make rural women aware of the services that are available to them to make motherhood safer today.  

Health camps were conducted for women, with a special focus on younger women, educating them about reproductive health, vaccinating young girls with Rubella vaccine in order to protect them against German measles during pregnancy, giving basic medicines, iron and calcium tablets, etc.  

Some startling statistics on Maternal Mortality in India:
·    15% of deaths of women in the reproductive age in India are maternal deaths
·    More than 90% of maternal deaths are preventable
·    40% of all pregnant women have some complications
·    15% need obstetric care for complications, which are potentially life threatening to mother and baby
·    Maternal mortality ratio in India is 308 per 100,000 live births as against 40 per 100,000 live births in Sri Lanka
·    India spends a mere 0.9% of GDP on health in the public sector. Only 4 out of 176 countries of the world do worse than India
·    Unsafe abortions lead to the deaths of 200 women everyday globally. One unsafe abortion takes place every 7 births

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Formed in 1950, FOGSI is today a group of 180 Societies with approximately 20,000 members all over India . The Federation is affiliated to the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) and was a Founder Member of the same in 1954. FOGSI has been dedicated to women healthcare awareness programmes and has been a pioneer of youth programmes for several years.

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