11th April, 2015 is a Saturday. While this is enough to make most of us happy, there is another reason to be glad. It is also National Safe Motherhood Day, a day dedicated to raise awareness on the issues and importance of women’s health especially during the times of pregnancy and beyond.
This event came into being in 1999 with the support of The White Ribbon Alliance (WRA), to ‘ensure that all women realise their right to be safe and healthy before, during and after childbirth’, and has been picking up momentum ever since.
Improving maternal health in India is an immediate need, one that has been taken up in a large way through recent years. In fact, the Maternal Mortality Ratio has been successfully reduced from 212 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2007-09, to 178 in 2010-12, and further to 167 in 2011-13 according to the The Office of the Registrar General, India – Sample Registration System (the SRS is India’s largest demographic survey). However, in order to meet the Millennium Development Goals, India has to achieve a target MMR of 140 per 100,000 live births by the end of 2015.
Therefore community participation in solving this issue is crucial. The theme chosen by WRA India for 2015 is ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ – Citizens participation and engagement for improving women’s and children’s health. This can include framing policies, running/volunteering for programmes that improve the health of women and children, raising awareness among women of the best practices to follow, donating to institutions that support this cause and much more.
Akshaya Patra too works towards improving the health of pregnant and lactating mothers by providing meals at Anganwadis in Jaipur. Currently the Foundation feeds almost 6,000 women across 298 centers in Jaipur every day. This ensures that during this crucial period of their lives, these women have access to sufficient, nutritious food that keeps them and their new born healthy and strong.
Tell us what you think should be done to ensure safe motherhood for women? Leave us a comment below.