Every year, National Safe Motherhood Day is observed across India on the 11th of April to create and raise awareness about proper healthcare and maternity facilities for pregnant and lactating women. It is an initiative of the White Ribbon Alliance India (WRAI) to enforce that women must have adequate access to care during pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal periods.
The White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) is a nonpartisan, non-profit and non-governmental membership organisation that aims to decrease maternal and newborn deaths globally. It was formed to address the voices of women at risk of dying in childbirth. The alliance grew rapidly as thousands of people and groups joined the network, speaking as one voice, identifying problems in their own communities and finding specific solutions at a national level across Africa and Asia.
Every minute of every day, somewhere in the world and most often in a developing country, a woman dies from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth. Our mission, as a result, should be to inspire and convene advocates who can campaign to uphold the right of all women to be safe and healthy before, during and after childbirth.
To achieve the same, WRAI organises activities and campaigns throughout the country. As a matter of fact, members of WRAI also join hands with other NGOs to share resources and technical expertise on National Safe Motherhood Day.
Due to lack of education and adequate health and medical services, about 44,000 Indian women die during pregnancy and childbirth. This number can be reduced with simple and proven techniques, and by improving accessibility and education among women. One of these measures could be informing mothers about their nutrition needs from the time they get pregnant to the time they deliver their baby. Another could be educating them about keeping their baby safe after birth through immunisations that are essential for his or her growth.
When a woman dies, children lose their primary caregiver. Her death is a major loss for her family, community and country.
Here are a few ways to prevent maternal deaths:
● Ensuring delivery by qualified and skilled birth attendant.
● Reducing anemia among women during adolescence and childbearing years.
● Educating women on nutrition during pregnancy.
● Informing women about family planning and safe methods.
● Improving antenatal care.
● Shedding light on the importance of breastfeeding.
● Providing postnatal care for pain, infections, excessive bleeding and nutrition.
● Preventing child marriage.
● Improving education of the girl child.
● Providing immunisation and other disease prevention methods.
● Detecting and managing birth complications.
With the help of organisations like UNICEF, WHO, WRAI and various NGOs across the country, India has been successful in lowering its abysmal maternal mortality rate (MMR). We owe this to their continuous efforts to bring about this positive change.