GUWAHATI, April 19 - Though the maternal mortality rate in Assam is coming down gradually, it is still among the highest among all the States of the country and much higher than the national average.
Meanwhile, the Government of India has decided to go for extensive use of the branches of the Ayush Ministry to bring down the maternal and infant mortality rate because of shortage of doctors in the State.
According to records available with the NITI Aayog, the maternal mortality rate in Assam is still much higher than the national average. The records available with the NITI Aayog website revealed that the maternal mortality rate per one lakh live births in Assam was 480 in 2004-06 and it came down to 300 in 2011-13. Though the mortality rate came down considerably during that period, it was still much higher than the national average, which was only 167 during 2011-13.
Meanwhile, highly-placed sources in the State Government admitted before The Assam Tribune that the high maternal mortality rate was a cause of concern and due to various schemes adopted by the National Health Mission, the rate has come down considerably over the years. However, there is still much to be done to bring it down, at least to the national average.
Sources revealed that the maternal mortality rate is much higher in the tea garden areas mainly because of lack of adequate healthcare facilities, while lack of knowledge about health and hygiene among the people is another major cause for the disturbing phenomenon. Early marriage and lack of proper nutrition are some other causes for high rate of maternal mortality rate in such areas.
Official sources said that the mortality rate is also quite high in the char areas because of lack of adequate healthcare facilities in those areas. Tobacco use by pregnant mothers is another major cause for the disturbing phenomenon.
Sources admitted that the mother and childcare facilities in the peripheral hospitals are still far from adequate and there is immediate need for improving the infrastructure in all such hospitals. There is acute shortage of doctors and paramedical staff in the hospitals in the remote areas and to deal with the problem the Government of India has decided to give stress on the wings under the Ayush Ministry and the Assam Government has also been directed to give due importance in this regard.