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Childbirth kills one woman every seven minutes in India

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A woman dies every seven minutes in India because of complications during pregnancy or childbirth, according to a government report released on 10 March. :

The number of women dying each year from pregnancy and childbirth is 77,000, the Registrar General of India said in a report, three times higher than a government target. Some 301 women in 100,000 births die each year due to "pregnancy-related complications" despite the government's goal of bringing the mortality rate below 100, said the registrar general.

"In other words, one woman is dying every seven minutes due to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth," the report states. Rundown maternity services and near-absent mother-and-childcare centres and rural health facilities contributed to the huge death rate of mothers. The report came after India's ruling Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi said on International Women's Day on Thursday that problems faced by women could not "be seen in isolation and their development is linked to the national economy." The report added: "Despite all the maternal health programmes and improvement in primary healthcare system, very few states are close to this desired figure (of keeping the mortality rate below 100 per 100,000 births)."

Federal ministry officials blamed the states for not doing enough to improve maternal health care.

"The national target is to keep the mortality rate to below 100 per live births but laxities by states in upgrading their (health) facilities is making it difficult," said an unnamed government official quoted by the Press Trust of India.

The report said that Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state with 170 million people, had the highest maternal mortality rate with 517 deaths per 100,000 live births. The southern state of Kerala [коммунистический штат], the only Indian state to boast 100 percent literacy, came nearest to the national target with a figure of 110 deaths per 100,000 live births, the report said.

The mortality rate has actually climbed in many states during the past five years, the report added. In 1999, there were 220 deaths per 100,000 live births in Uttar Pradesh, less than half the current rate.

Source: Agence France-Presse, 10/MAR/07

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