Mother & Child Health

Mother & Child Health

Mother & Child Health

This article deals with ‘Mother & Child Health  – for UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Society’, which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.

Why government should invest in Mother and Child Health?

Question: Imagine government as an investor. Given fiscal and capacity constraints, where would it invest to reap maximum benefits? 

According to the Economic Survey, low-cost maternal and early-life health and nutrition programs offer very high returns because

  • Spending on a mother is an economical option as a healthy mother is more likely to give birth to a healthy baby who learns better and stays in school longer. Additionally, a newborn’s most rapid physical and cognitive development occurs in the womb. 
  • The success of subsequent interventions—schooling and training—is influenced by early-life development. E.g. Government’s investment in skills training can reap the best results only if Child has developed full Cognitive & Physical Health at an early age.

Important Indicators

Neo-Natal Mortality Rate

  • It is the number of deaths of children below the age of 1 month per 1000 live births. 
  • According to NFHS-5 (2019-2021), India’s Neo Natal Mortality Rate is 24.9
NFHS-5 (2019-2021) 24.9
NFHS-4 (2015-2016) 29.5
  • Neo-Natal Mortality depends upon Mother’s health, as the leading cause of Mortality during the first month differs from the next 11 months. It depends on Utero Nutrition which is determined by the Birth-Weight of Children. 
  • India has high Neo-Natal Mortality because Indian women begin pregnancy at low weight. Along with that, they don’t gain weight during pregnancy, resulting in low birth weight of the child.

Infant Mortality Rate (IMR)

  • Number of deaths of children below the age of 1 year per 1000 live births. 
  • According to NFHS-5 (2019-2021), India’s Infant Mortality Rate is 35.2.
NFHS-5 (2019-2021) 35.2
NFHS-4 (2015-2016) 40.7
  • Note: IMR is an important indicator for determining the socio-economic status of any country because, more than any age group, the survival of infants depends upon their socio-economic environment. 

Child Mortality Rate (CMR)

  • CMR is the number of deaths of children in the age group of 0-4 years per 1000 live births. 

Under Five Mortality Rate (U5MR)

  • Number of deaths of children in the age group of 0-5 years per 1000 live births.
  • According to NFHS-5 (2019-2021), India’s U5MR is 41.9.
NFHS-5 (2019-2021) 41.9
NFHS-4 (2015-2016) 49.7
  • U5MR is an internationally accepted standard instead of Child Mortality Rate. Hence, India is moving towards it. 

Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR)

  • The Maternal Mortality Rate is the death of mothers during or within 42 days of childbirth per 1 lakh live births.
  • According to NFHS-5 (2019-2021), India’s MMR is 97.
NFHS-5 (2019-2021) 97
NFHS-4 (2015-2016) 130

Schemes of Government to reduce MMR , IMR , CMR

Pradhan Mantri Suraksheet Matritva Yojana (SMY)  

  • Launched by Health Ministry in 2016
  • It provides Ante-Natal (before birth) check-ups for pregnant women on the 9th of every month by specialist doctor 

Janani Suraksha Yojana

  • Launched by Health Ministry in 2005
  • To promote Institutional delivery of pregnant women instead of home births, which can be risky

LaQshya Program

  • LaQshya, or Labour Room Quality Improvement Initiative, was launched in 2018 by Health Ministry. 
  • The scheme aims to upgrade the Labour Room infrastructure, ensure essential supplies’ availability, and enhance healthcare providers’ skills.

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana  

  • Launched by Health Ministry in 2017
  • Under the scheme, ₹5,000 is given to eligible mothers. The benefits are provided in the following manner:
    1. First instalment: ₹1,000 is given upon early registration of pregnancy, usually within the first trimester (up to 180 days).
    2. Second instalment: ₹2,000 is given upon receiving at least one antenatal check-up after six months of pregnancy.
    3. Third instalment: ₹2,000 is given upon the birth of the child and registration of the child’s birth, along with the submission of the child’s immunization details.
  • It is applicable for first two children 

Integrated Child Development Program 

  • It is a flagship scheme which aims to improve the nutrition, health status & school dropout ratio of children in the age group 0-6 years
  • In 2016-17, other schemes like Anganwadi Services and National Crèche Scheme were brought under this scheme.

To Combat Diseases among Pregnant Women & Infants 

  • Anaemia: Major problem in Pregnant women. Iron Folic Acid Supplements are given by the government
  • Diarrhoea: A large number of infants die because of this. The government gives ORS and Zinc Tablets.

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