Maternal Healthcare in India

India’s unusually high maternal mortality rate has prompted the country to establish the goal of lowering this figure from their current 174 per 100,000 live births to to less than 100 per 100,000 live births. The past decade has shown significant improvement with an approximate 18% decrease as they were estimated to have approximately 212 deaths per 100,00 live births in 2007.Both the government and the private healthcare industry in India have taken initiative to provide better healthcare for women.

Maternal Mortality Causes

Most maternal deaths in India are attributed to direct obstetric causes including but not limited to hemorrhaging, infection, sepsis, and obstructed labor. For most maternal deaths, the complications which lead to death arose when the mother had reached full term. It is possible that the deaths from sepsis and obstructed labor may be related to the common practice of home births, an option both the government and private hospitals are discouraging through the increased availability of delivery in healthcare facilities.

Corrective Efforts

Many attribute India’s improved Maternal Mortality rates to a government initiative called the Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram scheme which provides free maternity services for women and children, an improved emergency referral system, maternal death audits and improvements in the governance and management of health services. The JSSK initiative provides free services including normal deliveries, cesarean sections and care for sick newborns up to thirty days after birth in a government health institutions in both rural and urban areas. According to the National Health Mission of India, the JSSK initiative will benefit over 12 million pregnant women who access government healthcare facilities for their delivery. It also aims to motivate individuals considering a home delivery to opt for a safer delivery in a government healthcare institution.


While government intervention has significantly improved India’s high maternal mortality rate, they aren’t alone. A  private hospital group called Cloudnine is contributing to improved healthcare for women and children in India. The hospital chain was founded by neonatologist Dr. R. Kishore in 2007 in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. The company has expanded to include hospitals in Chennai, Gurgaon, Mumbai and Pune. Their vision is “to be the kind of leader in the space of women and health that India has not witnessed yet, by providing premier quality healthcare to women and children.” Cloudnine claims to provides women with world-class medical expertise, state-of-the-art facilities, a space filled with love and laughter and staff dedicated to the holistic well-being of you and your baby. It is easy to understand the attractiveness of this safer alternative to home deliveries.


In a country where women are often treated as second class citizens, it is refreshing to see  maternal healthcare initiatives led by both the government and private hospitals. If both entities continue to prioritize maternal healthcare, India will likely continue to decrease their maternal mortality rate.

Erin Goodrow

MBA Candidate 2016