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Proposed Audit of Maternal Deaths
Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad announced that an audit of maternal deaths will be conducted soon in all states, helping policymaker’s chalk out programmes for improving maternal health.

New Delhi: Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday said that an audit of maternal deaths will be conducted soon in all states.

"This year, we have taken another new initiative on a national level and that is the introduction of maternal death audits at the community as well as the facility level," he said.

"Some states have already started doing it, while others are in advanced stages of preparation," Azad said, pointing out that availability of accurate data on maternal mortality was a major concern for policy makers.

Addressing an international conference which will deliberate on achievements and drawbacks in the field of combating maternal mortality, the minister described effective implementation of the existing schemes as the main problem.

"The lack of progress in improving maternal health presents itself a big global challenge," Azad said while inaugurating the three-day Global Maternal Health Conference in the national capital.

"Many a time, finding the solution is not the problem, implementing the solutions is the problem. Resource constraints in terms of infrastructure, supply of services and human resources present themselves as big challenges for most of the developing countries," he said.

The conference attended by delegates from across the world will deliberate on the UN Millennium Development Goal of reducing maternal mortality rates.

"I am aware that a large number of maternal deaths take place in India, which can be prevented. By preventing the delays in seeking healthcare and by addressing the cause of maternal mortality, a lot of avoidable deaths can be prevented," the minister said.

Elaborating on Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), a central government-sponsored scheme aimed at reducing maternal mortality, the minister said the programme has been recognised internationally.

"In 2009-10, the scheme has benefited more than 10 million pregnant women. Last year, we spent more than Rs 1,400 crore under the scheme," he said.

"While Janani Suraksha Yojana has generated a demand for services, the National Rural Health Mission has been able to strengthen the supply side," he said.

The minister also highlighted that 57 new district hospitals, 435 new community health centres, 1,009 new primary health centres and 9,144 new health sub-centres have been constructed during the last five years.

Source: Indo-Asian News Service