National Safe Motherhood Day

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By Vaishnavi Srivastava

The fresh scent

Of the heavenly hands,

The pious smile

Of the luminous face,

Like a flower she is, 

And I am the pollen. 

It is believed that God created mothers as he couldn’t be everywhere. And none of us can ever deny this fact. Mother is an ocean of love and emotions and it is everyone’s responsibility to take utmost care of such beautiful beings who are the givers of life. Motherhood is a beautiful experience and it should be special and safe for all expecting mothers during their pregnancy and even after that. 

To foster and safeguard the safety and health of such women, there is a day dedicated to them - National Safe Motherhood Day. 

What is National Safe Motherhood Day? 

NATIONAL SAFE MOTHERHOOD DAY, observed on 11th April, is an initiative to ensure and clinch on the fact that all the mothers are able to receive the adequate amount of care and services they need and require. 

Source- https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/national-safe-motherhood-day-2016-159131-1.htm 

India tops the list of all the countries in the world to have officially declared a day dedicated to the well-being, care, and protection of expecting mothers, throughout their journey of childbirth and even during the postnatal period. From banishing the illogical myths related to pregnancy to cherishing the right of respectful attention and care, we have come a long way in changing the spectrum of treatment towards pregnant women with the help of this day. A drastic fall has also been observed in the percentage of women losing their lives while or after giving birth, and this has been possible only by escalating the services and care for the respective mothers. 

On this day, there are several campaigns that work actively for increasing the awareness of the rights of pregnant women and new mothers to the best medical assistance as well as care. The members of the White Ribbon Alliance India(WRAI) run these campaigns throughout the country to educate more and more people about the rights of pregnant women. 

What is the importance of this day?

In the year 2003, the government of India declared the day of 11th April as the National Safe Motherhood Day. This was an outcome of the request of an alliance of 1800 organizations all across India, called the WRAI- White Ribbon Alliance India who wanted to raise awareness and spread the word about the rights of a pregnant woman to get proper care and medical services whenever needed throughout and after her pregnancy. 

Source- https://www.thehealthsite.com/news/safe-motherhood-day-observed-in-india-9265/ 

This day holds a very strong importance as it was a movement or a step ahead to preserve the health of the women of our country. Due to the lack of knowledge, the spread of misconceptions, and the facile nature of people towards the entire sphere of pregnancy, childbirth, and postnatal period, women were on the suffering end and this resulted in the deaths of countless of them. The root idea behind observing a day as National Safe Motherhood Day was to spread awareness and make people understand the importance of taking good care of pregnant women and provide them with the facilities needed. 

The major causes of women’s deaths during the pregnancy period:

Although, our country is on the path of development, sadly, there is a major chunk of India that has not even touched the lines of development yet. Rural India, which lacks behind in numerous factors- facilities, education, modernization, etc., is the area that bears with the wrath of orthodox cultures, beliefs, and practices making the women its main victims. 

The areas that lack sufficient medical facilities, suffer from poverty, do not have educated women and men, and are short on resources become the focal points where such horrific instances root from. People living in such areas are not aware of the rights and the responsibilities towards pregnant women and in some parts, they consider it blasphemous to take any medical assistance as well. The complications during pregnancy and childbirth and the lack of care for the mothers are a few things that increase the risks of the deteriorating health of women in these areas. 

Issues like excessive and severe bleeding, pre-eclampsia, and infections are a few major reasons that can result in the deaths of women in their pregnancy period. To save more and more women from being a victim to such horrific situations, the WRAI members run campaigns where they educate people about the seriousness and the need of proper medical assistance and care for women during and after their pregnancy and childbirth. 

How is the situation now?

With the constant work and efforts by the WRAI members and the government, we have seen a drastic change in the situation now. The percentage of women falling prey to such deaths and collapses has decreased with a considerable amount. There are easily accessible medical facilities, adequate amount of awareness and knowledge among people now to protect the birth-givers and provide them with the care and services they need. 

Gradually, with the increasing number of active campaigns for the cause, there are many parts of our country that are now well-versed with the needs and requirements of pregnant women and there are many fewer cases of carelessness and ignorance towards them. There are several initiatives taken by the government as well to help people understand the real essence of motherhood and not give way to unwanted pregnancies by indulging in safe, consensual, and protected intercourse. 

Therefore, 11th April, the birth anniversary of Kasturba Gandhi, celebrated as the National Safe Motherhood Day has helped millions of women to have a safe and healthy pregnancy. It is a day that is purely and entirely dedicated to the health of women who are going to or have given birth to their young ones. 

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