PMC’s ‘increased vigilance’ helps bring to fore maternal deaths

45 maternal deaths in 9 months; pregnancy-induced hypertension major cause

At a private hospital in Kondhwa, a 23-year-old pregnant woman was discharged within three days of a Caesarean operation. Soon, she reported to the same hospital with complaints of cold and cough, but instead of thoroughly checking her for any pregnancy related complication, the woman was treated on an OPD basis and sent home. Two days later she died at home. Shocked family members were clueless regarding the cause of her death and got a certificate from a local homoeopath who stated she died due to cardio-respiratory arrest. The doctor did not bother to fill the column giving details whether the woman was pregnant or had already delivered.

This case would have gone unnoticed had the vigilant auxiliary nursing midwives (ANM's) at the family welfare centre in the Kondhwa not reported it to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). Alarmed at the lax manner in which the pregnant woman died, the PMC sent notices to the private hospital and the local homoeopath.

"We have directed the Indian Medical Association (IMA) to issue a circular to its members to fill all the columns properly before issuing death certificates," Dr Anjali Sabne, acting deputy Medical Officer of Health, PMC told Newsline. A workshop will also be held in the next two days where the PMC plans to list a series of dos and don'ts for the medical fraternity on the issue.

Due to "increased vigilance" on the part of the PMC's health department, from April till December last year, as many as 45 maternal deaths were reported in the city. As per an audit conducted by the civic body, nearly 15 out of 45 deaths were from the city. "We conduct an in-depth study of the maternal deaths in the city to understand the causes and other demographic aspects," Sabne said. A majority of the women who died were in the age group of 20-30 years.

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