Women Issues: India is Not the Best Place for Mothers
Since time immemorial, India is known as the cradle of ethics, values and spiritual integration. Through centuries, the time-old custom of revering one’s parents and obeying their wishes became a part of the Indian social system. Also, worshipping or revering the Mother as equivalent to God continues even today. However, women issues continue to score poorly in India, particularly pertaining to the health care services meant for mothers.
Women Issues: ‘Save the Children’ Report Places India at 73rd Rank
India stood at 73rd place among the 77 developing countries surveyed by the ‘State of the World’s Mothers Report 2010’ in the list of best places to be a mother. The survey was conducted by a child rights’ organization called 'Save the Children'.
The report is significant as it underlines the shortage of trained health workers as the main stumbling block in India’s poor health care system. Many women respondents, who took part in the survey, revealed that the cost of the treatment was unaffordable for them. Simon Wright, the director of health at Save the Children said “Even when mothers face life-threatening situations -- like a labor that’s gone wrong or a baby that’s critically ill -- cultural and traditional reasons can mean it’s impossible for them to seek help from a man.” This is shocking but true. Many Indian women continue to depend on the decision of the husband and family before they go forward to seek health care services from outside.
According to the report, child and maternal mortality rates declined in some developing countries where women are well-trained to impart care within their communities. For instance, Bangladesh has experienced 64% drop in child mortality since 1990.
Women Issues: Shocking Statistical Revelations
This report that highlighted women issues, pertaining to mothers and children, revealed that:
- There is a shortage of approximately 74,000 Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers and around 21,066 Auxiliary Nurse Midwifes.
- Every year 67,000 women die due to complications in pregnancy and child birth. Estimates indicate that if skilled health workers and emergency obstetrics care had been available, 74% of these mothers would have survived.
- One out of 70 mothers-to-be is prone to the risk of death during childbirth due to the poor state institutional deliveries in India.
- Modern contraceptives are used only by 43% women.
Women Issues: Recommendations of the Report
The report offers the following recommendations to handle women issues:
- More health workers, especially midwives, should be trained and deployed.
- Better incentives should be given to female health workers to retain them and attract more qualified staff. Incentives could be in terms of better pay, support, professional recognition and training.
- To increase the number of women qualified to become health workers, investment in girls’ education should be increased. This will also empower future mothers to not only take batter care of their health and their children’s health but also take charge of their health.
- Basic healthcare systems should be strengthened. Healthcare programmes targeting the poorest mothers should be initiated and properly implemented.