Maternal Health in Gujarat, India: A Case Study
Keywords:Health services, Management capacity, Maternal health, Maternal mortality, Morbidity, India
Gujarat state of India has come a long way in improving the health indicators since independence, but progress in reducing maternal mortality has been slow and largely unmeasured or documented. This case study identified several challenges for reducing the maternal mortality ratio, including lack of the managerial capacity, shortage of skilled human resources, non-availability of blood in rural areas, and infrastructural and supply bottlenecks. The Gujarat Government has taken several initiatives to improve maternal health services, such as partnership with private obstetricians to provide delivery care to poor women, a relatively-short training of medical officers and nurses to provide emergency obstetric care (EmOC), and an improved emergency transport system. However, several challenges still remain. Recommendations are made for expanding the management capacity for maternal health, operationalization of health facilities, and ensuring EmOC on 24/7 (24 hours a day, seven days a week) basis by posting nurse-midwives and trained medical officers for skilled care, ensuring availability of blood, and improving the registration and auditing of all maternal deaths. However, all these interventions can only take place if there are substantially-increased political will and social awareness.
Key words: Health services; Management capacity; Maternal health; Maternal mortality; Morbidity; India
J Health Popul Nutr 2009 April;27(2):235-248