eHEALTH Bureau

India has been making concerted efforts to bring down the maternal mortality ratio in the country. Maternal mortality ratio has come down to 254/1000 live births in 2006 from 301/1000 live births in the year 2003. This shows a decline of 47 points during the period of 3 years. The government is implementing a conditional cash transfer scheme covering poor pregnant women for promoting safe motherhood. Under this scheme about $30 is given to women who have their delivery in public hospitals.

During the first year of the scheme, in the year 2005-2006, it reached out to more than 700,000 pregnant women. The scale-up of this scheme has been very impressive. During the year 2009-10, in the 5th year of its existence, the scheme has covered approximately 10 million pregnant women.

In its recent issue the well known international journal ‘Lancet’ acknowledged the efforts made by India as one of the 5 countries recording the highest decline in maternal mortality. Therefore, it may be too early to say that India will not be able to achieve the MDG-5 target.

On MDG-6, India has made impressive gains. As against a projected figure of 5 million HIV/AID patients in the country, the current numbers are 2.3 million and these numbers have started showing a declining trend.

The T.B. programme has consistently maintained treatment success rate of above 85% and new sputum positive case detection rate close to the global target of 70%. Another area that would complement our work for the MDGs would be our response to the emerging crisis of non-communicable diseases.

Affordable diagnostic kits and cheap but good quality generic drugs hold the key to any meaningful progress on the prevention and control of non communicable diseases recent attempts to confiscate in transit, legitimate exports of generic drugs from India are therefore, viewed with concern.

“We are very clear that unless our people can afford and access treatment, their health seeking behaviour would not change. There would be no meaningful impact on the Non Communicable Diseases Incidence (NCDs) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) would continue to be an uphill task,” says Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, in his speech at the Commonwealth Health Ministers Conference at Geneva.

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