Maternal Morbidity in Rural Andhra Pradesh

G. Rama Padma
JEL codes: 
Working Paper No. 63 November, 2004

Pregnancy constitutes a high risk of morbidity and mortality due to associated
physiological stress. Many women do not die of causes related to pregnancy but
suffer severe morbidities. In developing countries, pregnancy and childbirth related
complications are the leading cause of disability among women aged 15-44 years.
The objective of the present paper is to assess the extent of maternal morbidity and
assess the factors responsible for it in rural Andhra Pradesh. An attempt is also
made to understand the treatment seeking behaviour of the women for the morbidities.
The study revealed a high prevalence of maternal morbidity in rural areas of Andhra
Pradesh. Especially in the less developed district, nearly 95 percent of the women
experienced at least one of the morbidities and in the developed district it is 61
percent. ‘Life threatening’ and ‘Serious’ morbidities are experienced by 39 and 54
percent in the less developed; 15 and 46 percent of women in developed district
respectively. High incidence of maternal morbidity in rural areas can be attributed to
the combination of individual, household, community, medical as well as nutrition
variables. Determinants of maternal morbidity at individual level are age, parity,
education and work status; household variables are type of family, possession of
land, availability of toilet with in the premises of house. In addition poor infrastructure
facilities such as access to villages and non-availability of health care facilities further
added to the level of maternal morbidity. Government’s introduction of RCWHCs is
not been effective in bringing down the morbidity levels due to lack of proper staff,
particularly lady doctor. In spite of low levels of perception about maternal morbidities,
relatively higher utilization of health services during antepartum period should be
taken as an advantage for initiating complete antenatal services, i.e. beyond the
coverage of women by TT injection and supply of IFA tablets. The governmental
initiation of supplying protein-rich food to pregnant and lactating mothers through
ICDS programme has significantly lowered the morbidity levels probably by lessening
the levels of anaemia.