Why Masahun Khatun and 50,000 pregnant women died

Why Masahun Khatun and 50,000 pregnant women died

downloadLast year, in eastern BiharÂ’s Phulwari Sharif, 24-year-old Masahun Khatun was five months pregnant when she fell in the courtyard of her house. For the next three weeks, Masahun and her husband shuttled between government hospitals and private practitioners, spending over Rs.40,000 on healthcare, as they tried to get an abortion. Masahun did not survive and her husband, a daily-wage labourer, is struggling to raise their four kids. This is their story:

Almost a decade after the government launched the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY, MothersÂ’ Protection Programme) to reduce maternal and infant mortality by promoting institutional delivery, too many Indian mothers die of causes related to childbirth.


IndiaÂ’s MMR, or maternal mortality ratio (number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live child births), was 178 in 2010-12, worse than poorer countries such as Myanmar and Nepal, and about the same as Laos and Papua New Guinea, according to WHO data. As many as 50,000 pregnant women die every year in India during childbirth, according to this UN report.

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