Union Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar on Wednesday said while the country has achieved a momentous milestone in reduction of maternal mortality ratio (MMR) registering a significant decline from 130 in 2014-16 to 97 per lakh live births in 2018-20, it remains "our duty to remove all bottlenecks especially at field level to ensure that every mother is cared for and consequently ensure zero preventable maternal mortality".

Pawar said this while speaking at the National Maternal Health Workshop in the national capital.

Aligning with the 'Sustainable Development Goal Agenda 2030' for maternal mortality reduction, the theme of the workshop was "striving for zero preventable maternal mortality".

Pawar stated that "India is on a positive trajectory for maternal health and child health outcomes and the Central government is committed to withstanding new challenges and envisages assuring safe motherhood for all its future mothers along with steps towards providing accessible and affordable healthcare".

"Earlier, India was losing more than 44,000 mothers. With the implementation of 'Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan', as part of which doctors pledge one day of service per month to this campaign, more than 3.6 crore pregnant women have received comprehensive ANC under this programme across all states and UTs," she added.

The MoS said that "MMR decline has been stupendous from 130 in 2014-16 to 97 per lakh live births in 2018-20. The number of states which have achieved Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets, has also now risen from six to eight".

She further said "the rapid decline in MMR shows government's dedication under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards investments in health initiatives and in turn, ensuring health for all".

She stressed on robust state monitoring and auditing at various levels of governance, capacity building of medical staff and accurate information disbursal. She also urged that best practices must be discussed and shared regularly.

Giving the example of rapid adaptation of technology during Covid pandemic, for e.g. teleconsultations through e-sanjeevani, Pawar said that similar innovative interventions can be implemented in our quest to achieve holistic healthcare for all.

During the event, Pawar also unveiled the Midwifery-led care units (MLCUs) brochure and Standard Operating Protocol posters for labour rooms to enable quality of care around birth in public health facilities.

She also introduced the Maternal health guidance booklet for community health officers (CHOs) and SUMAN community linkages brochure.

Several Audio-Visual films like "An Odyssey of Maternal Health in India", AV film on "Midwifery Initiative: promotional video", Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyaan were showcased at the event.

Several states were awarded for their remarkable efforts and achievements in the area of maternal health on the occasion.