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Tackling the serious problem of maternal mortality in India, the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists Society of India (FOGSI) has initiated 'Save the mother and newborn'. The front line health workers and nurses are being trained in helping the mothers in emergencies.

The FOGSI has recognised eclampsia as the leading cause of maternal mortality in India and has started a national registry for it in 25 States in the country. The maternal mortality rate (MMR) (maternal deaths per one lakh deliveries) in western countries is 20–25 against around 220 in India, out of which 10–15 percent deaths occur due to eclampsia.

Former FOGSI president Dr Sanjay Gupte, said the campaign 'Save the mother and newborn' aims at increasing the number of medically supervised deliveries, providing effective and timely post–natal and newborn care and creating awareness about the significance of blood testing during pregnancy to avoid emergencies.

Although eclampsia is preventable, due to ignorance towards health, pregnant women at peripheral region do not go for regular health check–up. Obesity, family history, anaemia and extreme age pregnancies– either at an early age or too late– are the reasons behind eclampsia.

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Under the programme, healthcare workers and medical officers in peripheral region are provided emergency kits and are trained in administering magnesium sulphate injection that prevents eclampsia.

"Earlier, the healthcare workers were scared of injecting magnesium sulphate due to the fear of toxicity. But now, they are getting training for administering the proper dosage of magnesium sulphate," Dr Gupte added.

Dr Gupte also mentioned that while Maharashtra has shown a 20 per cent decline in MMR from 2004 to 2009, the overall national average is still alarmingly high compared to other developing nations. "The MMR in Kerala and Tamil Nadu is comparatively less around 76 and 90 respectively while that in Maharashtra is around 104–112. It can be furthered reduced with timely intervention," he said.

Gynaecologist Dr Mukta Umarji also supported the fact that due to increasing stress levels, lack of nutrition and lack of physical exercise, the safety margin during deliveries has narrowed.

Eclampsia is a life–threatening complication of pregnancy, where a seven or eight–month pregnant woman becomes hypertensive. It can be prevented with simple blood tests. Early diagnosis and control on blood pressure helps in reducing the risk.

Source :
Sakaal Times
10 July 2013, Pune, India

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