National Safe Motherhood day: Let’s protect our expectant mothers

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Who is the most venerated person in India? A mother right?“The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the centre of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children”, this quote by Jessica Lange is so true. Yes, India is a land which celebrates its mothers and motherhood. But do we take care of our women who are on the way to become a mother? I think not. They do not need veneration after they become mothers but when they are expectant mothers. So, why am I taking about mothers and motherhood today you might wonder, well because today is National Safe Motherhood Day. Each year April 11 is celebrated as National Safe Motherhood Day.

History behind this day

Did you know why this day was selected? Because it is also the birth anniversary of Kasturba Gandhi, the White Ribbon Alliance India (WRAI) proposed this day to be named as National Safe Motherhood Day and the government accepted it in 2003.

The WRAI which was launched in 1999 declared April 11 as National Safe Motherhood Day to ensure that pregnant women, new mothers, and their families have access to proper prenatal, delivery and postnatal care.

All women know that giving birth to a baby is both a joy and a challenge. As a woman embarks on this path, she needs to feel protected and comfortable at all times.

The need behind this day

We in urban areas know that maternal fatalities can be prevented, in most cases, if expecting women have access to healthcare. Medical intervention can avoid or treat problems before they arise. One important fact is that pregnant women, as well as those women who have given birth should be conscious of the need of medical treatment.  You will be saddened to know that India is responsible for 15% of the world’s total maternity fatalities. Did you know that 44, 000 women die due to pregnancy related complications? And that almost 80 percent of women give birth in health care facilities, yet fatality rate is substantial. This fatality rate has been rated as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Theme for this year

Motherhood has been a harrowing but rewarding experience for a number of women throughout this Coronavirus outbreak. So, this year’s theme is ‘Remain at home amid Coronavirus, protect mother and infant safe from Coronavirus.’ The WRAI aims to spread awareness and coordinate large-scale campaigns across India. 

Government initiatives

In 2011, the JSSK campaign was started to encourage women who still prefer to give birth at home to consider having their babies in a hospital instead.

Under this programme all expecting mothers are entitled to free prenatal care and delivery at public health facilities, including Caesarean section deliveries. It also includes a three-day standard delivery diet and seven-day C-section diet. Women under this scheme can avail of facilities like free tests, complimentary blood, free medicines and supplies. Those women who have prenatal and postnatal difficulties can also avail of these facilities. Additionally, JSSK also provides free transportation to and fro schools.

In the end I would like to say let’s take care of our expecting mothers, let’s make the Sustainable Development Goals mandate for 2016-2030 to reduce global maternal death ratio to be reduced to 70 per 100000 a success. 

(The views expressed are the writer’s own)

Smita Singh is a freelance writer who has over 17 years of experience in the field of print media, publishing, and education. Having worked with newspapers like The Times of India (as freelancer), National Mail, Dainik Bhaskar and DB Post, she has also worked with Rupa& Co, a book publishing house and edited over 30 books in all genres.

She has worked with magazines like Discover India and websites called HolidayIQ and Hikezee (now Go Road Trip). She has also written for Swagat (former in-flight magazine of Air India), Gatirang (magazine of MarutiUdyog), India Perspectives (magazine for Ministry of External Affairs) and Haute Wheels (magazine of Honda).

After turning freelance writer she wrote on art and architecture for India Art n Design. She also worked for Princeton Review as a full-time Admissions Editor and then IDP Education Private Limited as an Application Support Consultant. Smita has her own website called bookaholicanonymous.com which supports her love for books and reading!

You can reach her at: [email protected]

(Collage with images from the net)

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