India is likely to miss the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) related to maternal health as one maternal death is being reported every 10 minutes in the country now.
India recorded around 57,000 maternal deaths in 2010, which translate into a whopping six every hour and one every 10 minutes, UN data in this regard says.
The current Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) of India is 212 per one lakh live births, whereas the country¿s MDG in this respect is 109 per one lakh live births by 2015.
The MMR challenge for India was highlighted on Monday at the launch of the Millennium Development Goals Report of the UN Secretary General.
The 2012 report, which assesses the regional progress on eight MDGs the world promised to meet, states that although progress has been made on improvements in maternal health, actual targets remain far from sight.
" The Government needs to ensure the availability of Auxiliary Nurses and Midwives closer to the homes of women who are delivering", Frederika Meijer, India Representative for United Nations Population Fund said.
Meijer said almost 150 women were dying daily in India, as per 2010 data on maternal deaths. "This means one woman is dying every minute. The Government must work to address the issue of unmet need for contraception of women. They need to be counselled to space their children better," Meijer said.
Maternal deaths are defined as the number of women who die during pregnancy or within 42 days of the termination of pregnancy.
India needs to hasten the pace under National Rural Health Mission to achieve related MDG.
The MDG Report 2012 points out that an estimated 2,87,000 maternal deaths occurred in 2010 worldwide. This represents a decline of 47 per cent from 1990 when the MDGs were set.
The report was released by noted economist Jayati Ghosh of Jawahar Lal Nehru University.
Ghosh flagged another important issue on the health front saying poor child nutrition remained a massive challenge for India where 42 per cent children under five years of age were underweight.
"This is the largest proportion of underweight children anywhere in the world. Nutrition deprivation is a huge issue which the Government must address because it affects a child\\\’s ability to study and lead a productive life later, Together with food insecurity and employment insecurity, nutrition deprivation to me is a big problem for India. The situation is alarming", she said.
As many as 237 million Indians are still living in hunger though India has managed to meet the first MDG of reducing people in extreme poverty by half between 1990 and 2015. Poverty has declined in India from 51 per cent in 1990 to 37 per cent now, but hunger remains a challenge, especially when it affects child nutrition.