Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma expressed serious concern today over the maternal and infant mortality rates (MMR and IMR) in Meghalaya.
Sangma was replying to a call attention motion on a report by Highland Post highlighting deaths of infants and pregnant women in April-June, which was moved by opposition Congress legislator Himalaya Shangpliang in the Assembly during the ongoing autumn session.
The CM stated that blame for MMR can be divided between teenage pregnancy (10 per cent), insufficient time between births (30 per cent), also known as birth spacing, and unwanted pregnancy (40 per cent).
“Therefore, we realise the need of taking measures in certain areas to decrease it,” Sangma said. “These deaths are consistently taking place, which is sad,” he added.
There have been 1,005 maternal deaths from 2015 to date, the Chief Minister informed the house, with 13,006 deaths of infants up to one year old in the same period.
He also said that the issue also relates to social and economic aspect and also on the aspect of empowerment of women.
The Chief Minister also outlined the features about Meghalaya’s Outcome Oriented Transformation in Health, Nutrition, Education and Rural Development (MOTHER) programme and said that, through the use of technology, the government was mapping pregnant women and high-risk mothers across the state with specific details.
The CM also stated that the reason the Health Department had highlighted the MMR and IMR between April and June this year was because it wanted to bring in another perspective other than the dominant narrative surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Mawsynram MLA also pointed out that, due to the coronavirus pandemic, many government programmes like immunization and regular pre-natal and post-natal exams have taken a back seat.