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“Maternal mortality” rose during pandemic: Lancet Report

What is the News? The Lancet Global Health journal releases a report titled “Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mothers and Babies”. It reports increasing maternal mortality as an impact of pandemic-induced restrictions.

About the Lancet Report:
  • The Lancet report is based on an analysis of 40 studies across 17 countries. It includes Brazil, Mexico, the U.S., Canada, UK, Denmark, Netherlands, Italy, India, China, and Nepal.
  • The report provides a clear indication that the health of women and babies experienced worse outcomes due to the pandemic.
Key Findings of the Report:
  • The risk of maternal mortality during pregnancy or childbirth increased by more than a third compared with pre-pandemic instances.
    • Reasons: Global lockdowns, disruption in maternal health services, reduction in health-seeking behaviour and fear of getting infected from health providers added to pregnancy risks and led to worsened health outcomes for women and children.
  • The chances of stillbirth have also increased by more than 28% compared with pre-pandemic instances.
    • Stillbirth: It means a baby born with no signs of life at 28 weeks of pregnancy or more.
  • The study also focussed on maternal mental health. It has found an increase in postnatal depression, maternal anxiety or both during the pandemic.
Impact of Pandemic on India:
  • According to HMIS data by Population Foundation of India, during the national lockdown between April and June in 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, there was a
    • 27% drop in pregnant women receiving four or more antenatal check-ups;
    • 28% decline in institutional deliveries and
    • 22% decline in prenatal services.
Suggestions:
  • Policymakers and healthcare leaders must urgently investigate robust strategies for preserving safe and respectful maternity care.
  • Also, take Immediate actions to avoid rolling back decades of investment in reducing mother and infant mortality in low-resource settings.
  • The personnel for maternity services not be redeployed for other critical and medical care during the pandemic and in response to future health system shocks.

Source: The Hindu

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