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UNICEF Facts & Figures About Maternal Death In India On The Eve Of Mother’s Da

l care, and only 58 percent receive any iron/folate tablets or syrup. In rural areas, 75 percent of births still take place at home, mostly without any skilled help to ensure a safe delivery.

For each one of these deaths, between 30 and 100 more women suffer from acute maternal morbidities that are painful, debilitating and often permanently disabling. Moreover, babies of deceased mothers are three to 10 times more likely to die within their first two years than children growing up with both parents. To bring the MMR under control, UNICEF is unveiling a new tool, Maternal and Perinatal Death Inquiries (MAPEDI) method, to help save mothers' lives MAPEDI, developed and implemented with Johns Hopkins University in the US, uses the "verbal autopsy method" to gain insight from people in communities that have the firsthand experience with the tragedy of maternal mortality.

Equipped with a detailed MAPEDI questionnaire, UNICEF India volunteers have begun conducting one-on-one interviews with family members and healthcare workers in five high-risk states. The data collected at these interviews will be analysed and presented to local governments as part of the National Reproductive and Child Health Programme, which is supported by the World Bank and seeks to significantly reduce the MMR.

Evidence from India shows that to reduce maternal deaths the country's health infrastructure needs focused antenatal care, birth preparedness, skilled attendance at birth, post-partum and neonatal essential care within the first 24 hours and the first seven days and access to emergency obstetric care.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Mammohan Singh observed that MMR in India was higher than in Bangladesh. The National Rural Health Mission, the government's ambitious social service programme launched in April 2005 along with the Reproductive and Child Health programme, is now expected to help India achieve a lower maternal mortality in the next seven
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