Over a quarter of the 529,000 maternal deaths that occur every year take place in India, the World Health Organization said Sunday. With 136,000 deaths from childbirth annually, on average an Indian woman dies during pregnancy or childbirth once every five minutes. The majority of these deaths, the WHO said, occurred because of postpartum hemorrhaging — blood loss of more than 500 ml within the first 24 hours following childbirth.
The reason these maternal deaths are occurring, according to the WHO, is because of a shortage in the nation’s blood supply. With a population of 1.2 billion, the WHO estimates that India requires 12 million units of blood annually — the country has reserves of only nine million, a 25 percent deficit. The prevalence of home childbirths in rural areas also contributes to the problem, the WHO reported. In rural areas, one out of every five childbirths occurred at a home instead of a hospital, according to an official survey released in April.
According to DNA India, the United Nations said last year that many countries reporting high maternal death rates should expect progress to slow or even reverse itself over the next 15 years if there is no increase in the number of health workers with midwifery skills.
Read the full story at IBTimes India.