Maternal & Child Health


  • One-third of the total maternal deaths in 2015 happened in India, where 45,000 mothers died during pregnancy or childbirth : UN Report
Findings of Global Hunger Index 2016
  • There is widespread and chronic lack of balanced food in India. About 15% of under-5 children are `wasted’ and 39% of under-5 children are ‘stunted
  • The under-5 mortality rate is 4.8% in India, partially reflecting the fatal synergy of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments.
  • Estimated 15% population is undernourished and lacks in adequate food intake, both in quantity and quality
Findings of Rapid Survey on Children (RSOC) :
Rapid Survey on Children (RSOC) conducted by Women and Child Development Ministry and UNICEF paints a mixed picture. It covered various parameters related to women and children like age at marriage, school/college attendance, maternal care, early childhood care, access to drinking water, toilet facilities, and awareness and utilization of six Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).
Women related:
  1. Nearly 53% girls (15- 18 yrs) have low BMI -This indicates not only the poor status of girl children but shall also lead to under-development of children they will bear in future.
  2. High prevalence of marriage below the age of 18– This results in poor educational, psychological and physical development ( before the child bearing age) of women.
  3. Low ratio of the pregnant and lactating women availing supplementary nutritional at ICDS– It leads to nutritional deficiency ,thus retarded development of their young children
Child related:
  1. Less penetration (65.2%) of immunization – It results in health issues arising out of communicable but preventable diseases, leading to productivity loss and health burden on families.
  2. High rate of stunting (38.1%) and underweight (29.5%) with worse figures for weaker sections (SCs, STs and OBCs) – Lack of balanced diet leads to this situation. These children are bound to be less productive and more -prone to various diseases.
  3. Low access ( 54%) to nutritional food at ICDS– Point to less than effective implementation of ICDS.Leads to below par development of children.
Besides, lack of facilities at ICDS (on one or the other account),high rate ( 44%) of open defecation, lack of breast-feeding of children in various age group etc. are other issues reported.
Having said that, rates of registration for pregnancy (84 per cent) ,antenatal checkup and  access to drinking water were reasonably high .At the same time, there was high awareness among anganwadi workers about various maternal and nutritional needs of women. Besides, high performing states (economically) like Gujarat and Delhi were found to lagging behind on most of these parameters than those which are not so economically better off.
Thus, it clearly shows that effective social, economic, administrative and legislative actions needed to improve the situation. Improving overall status of women can be the starting point as it will have multiplier effect on other areas.



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