Maternal Mortality – A Forsaken Pandemic – ET HealthWorld


By Dr. Mahesh Gupta, High-risk obstetric consultant, Puspam Hospital

Pregnancy to childbirth to breast-feeding – these are all experiences meant to be truly profound and life changing for the mother; however, the reality continues to be the opposite even in 21st century India.

An undeniable fact, which warrants everyone’s attention, maternal mortality is a preventable cause of death. However, despite having the awareness and the knowledge to combat this, India’s high MMR continues to be unspoken, worse, and mostly untreated.

Reasons for Maternal Mortality

Firstly, budgetary allocation towards public health in developing countries continues to be significantly lower versus developed countries. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that MMR is much higher in underdeveloped and developing countries such as India.

Secondly, a lack of innovation in the treatment approach towards preventable causes of maternal mortality is also an important factor. Let us consider post-partum hemorrhage (PPH) which is responsible for half of the maternal mortality, as an example.

PPH manifests as a mother suffering from heavy bleeding after giving birth, and is the ‘quickest’ of maternal killers – PPH can kill a healthy woman within two hours if left untreated. PPH remains as one of the most preventable causes contributing to India’s high MMR, yet very little innovation has taken place towards its treatment approach.

COMOC–MG: An Innovative method for preventing PPH

An innovative method conceived for preventing PPH (and in turn lowering India’s MMR) is a simple, effective and time-saving technique known as COMOC-MG (Compression of Myometrium, Occlusion of Uterine Artery). In COMOC-MG procedure, with a single puncture, two modalities of PPH tackling surgery is being taken care of (Compression of myometrium and occlusion of uterine vessels).

A special suture material manufactured by an Indian medtech company is making this procedure available across India. The suture has a straight needle on one side, and a curved needle with a free-end on the other side.

COMOC-MG method is particularly significant, especially in light of the increasing number of C-Section deliveries. The requirements to adopt this technique are minimal – all the surgeon needs is, The needled-suture material and some ground training to gynecologists, obstetricians, healthcare workers to familiarize themselves with this technique.

This too has been addressed in a unique manner using the latest technology—the suture material comes with a leaflet which has a QR code. The QR code can be scanned on a mobile phone, the surgeon can then watch the few, simple and easy steps involved in the technique and perform the life-saving procedure.

Collaborate to innovate

The medical community should collaborate to innovate. The burden of data generation should not always be left on the innovator; it is now more critical than ever that the entire community join-hands in generating credible data on innovative methods in attempts to make it widely acceptable and accessible.

The fraternity should also start adopting new scientific methods and should be agile in taking decisions towards the management of PPH or other risks during pregnancy and child birth.

A key reason towards the lack of innovation is due to the ‘KNOW-DO gap’ that continues to dominate our medical fraternity. As a community, there exists a fear of trying and adopting something new. This mindset needs to be broken. The entire value chain takes a moment to pause, reflect, and act on this on-going forsaken pandemic of maternal mortality.

By the time you as a reader have finished reading this article, India would have lost another mother. It is time to act.

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETHealthworld.com does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETHealthworld.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly or indirectly.





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