Maternal and Child health problems in India

The Maternal and Child Health (MCH) problems in India (and other developing countries) are:

  1. Malnutrition
    • Most people in the developing countries are malnourished
    • Malnutrition has a significant impact on the vulnerable groups – pregnant women, lactating women and children
    • It can result in maternal complications such as
      • anemia
      • post partum haemorrhage
      • toxemia of pregnancy
      • low birth weight  in baby
    • Children are most affected in utreo and during period of weaning
    • Malnourished children are more susceptible to infections
    • Interventions to prevent malnutrition can be direct and indirect
      • Direct measures
        • Food supplementation
        • Food fortification
        • Iron and folic acid supplementation
        • Nutritional education
      • Indirect measures
        • Food hygiene
        • Education
        • Environmental sanitation
        • Vaccination to prevent disease
        • Provision for clean drinking water
  2. Infection
    • Although infections have been controlled to a great extend in developed countries, they continue to be a major problem in developing countries
    • Maternal infection can result in
      • IUGR
      • low birth weight
      • abortions
      • peurperal sepsis
    • Upto 25 percent of pregnant women have urinary tract infection
    • Cytomegalovirus, herpes and toxoplasma infection are also seen among mothers
    • Children are at risk for diarrhoeal diseases, respiratory tract diseases and skin conditions
    • Infections can be controlled by
      • adequate nutrition
      • sanitation
      • immunization
      • better primary health care services
  3. Uncontrolled reproduction
    • Unregulated fertility has adverse effects on both mother and children
    • Decrease in birth spacing results in inadequate care for the existing child and risk of more complications during pregnancy ( such as anemia, IUGR, abortion)
    • The risk increases greatly after the 4th pregnancy
    • Hence family planning services form an important part of MCH programs
    • Measures like Intrauterine contraceptive device, oral contraceptive pills, long acting injectable medroxy progesterone acetate, female sterilisation and barrier methods can be used
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MCH – Acronym

MCH stands for: Maternal and Child Health