National Safe Motherhood Day is celebrated every year on April 11. The day is an initiative of the White Ribbon Alliance India (WRAI) in an effort that women must have the availability and enough access to care during pregnancy, childbirth, and postnatal services.
In 2013, the Government of India declared April 11, the anniversary of Political activist Kasturba Gandhi, as the National Safe Motherhood Day.
India is the first country in all across the world to have officially declared a National Safe Motherhood Day.
Every year the members of WRAI selects a nationwide advocacy theme to celebrate National Safe Motherhood Day. The goal of the day is to increase awareness that every woman has a right to live and survive well during and after pregnancy and childbirth.
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National Safe Motherhood Day also provides awareness on conventional healthcare and maternity facilities to pregnant and lactating women. The government of India has also strengthened implementation of Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojna (IGMSY) maternity benefit scheme.
Surviving childbirth is a basic right of every woman and our social responsibility. Securing institutional delivery, reducing anemia risk among women by providing them Iron-Folic Acid supplements and as well as provide them better pre and postnatal health care are necessary for mothers.
The day also promotes the prevention of child marriages because the child marriage is an indirect cause of maternal deaths. Women have right to good quality nutrition and healthcare services during and after pregnancy and childbirth, for this, we need to remove the barriers that contribute to maternal mortality would go a long way towards the goal of safe motherhood.
On the other hands, in India, the national average of maternal mortality has been decline by 17 percent according to the census data of 2011 and government’s efforts are on to achieve the millennium development goal of reducing maternal mortality rate in near future.
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India and Maternal Health
Over the decades, India has made great strides in reducing maternal mortality rates and the National Health Mission has made financial and service commitments to provide safe care and improve neonatal health. The decline in maternal mortality in India is better than the global decline.
With the development of the Sustainable Development Program, this year is a key opportunity to create a framework that accelerates the actions of mothers, newborns, and children.
In these frameworks, global and national accountability systems should be established to monitor and promote the fulfillment of the promises on women’s and children’s health to support the goals of maternal, newborn and child health. These accountability mechanisms must include the direct participation of citizens.
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