The World Health Organization (WHO) commended India earlier this week for making a groundbreaking reduction in maternal mortality. The country reduced the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) by 77 percent, from 556 per 1,00,000 live births in 1990 to 130 per 1,00,000 live births in 2016. The present MMR is below the Millennium Development Goal target, and the country is on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goal target of an MMR below 70 by 2030. WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia Poonam Khetrapal Singh attributes India’s success to a focus on improving access to maternal health services, an increase in institutional deliveries for both urban and rural women, an emphasis on mitigating the social determinants of health, and increased cooperation between the public and private sectors. “These factors alone have enabled Indian women to better control their reproductive lives and make decisions that reflect their own interests and wants,” Singh said. Nations around the globe can look to India as an example of the immense positive impact of investing in women’s reproductive health.

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