Fact-finding Report on Maternal Mortality and Indian Public Health Standards, Balasore, Odisha

According to a 2013 report on reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health, conducted by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) in 2013, “there are still 56,000 maternal deaths each year. About two-thirds of maternal deaths occur in just a few states – Assam, Uttar Pradesh (including Uttarakhand), Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh (including Chhattisgarh), Bihar (including Jharkhand) and Odisha.”

The fact-finding team from HRLN visited Balasore District to research a maternal death in the Basta areaand was profoundly disturbed by the details surrounding the death of a pregnant woman. The systems designed to provide adequate care for pregnant women are not properly administered, directly violating a woman’s rights to survive pregnancy and childbirth. There have been instances of medical doctors missing from their duty, woman undergoing significant abuse fromthe attending Medical Officer, breakdown in the referral mechanisms, and a failure to provide proper treatment in time. All of these have resulted in a failure to avert preventable maternal mortality, a violation of right to survive pregnancy and child birth.