A new study reveals that 46.6% mothers in India are pushed into penury due to expensive maternal healthcare in the country. The study is backed by researchers from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee. It also says that illiterate women are the most vulnerable group.

 Key findings of the research:

1. The expenditure involved in maternal healthcare is greater than or equal to 40 per cent of a household’s non-subsistence income.

2. Sixty-three per cent households nationwide had a catastrophic maternal health expenditure of 40 per cent.

3. Telangana is the one state which is the most affected by childbirth costs. A whopping 65.7% households were pushed into poverty followed by Chhattisgarh and Puducherry with 53.7% and 53.4% households in poverty respectively.

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4. More illiterate women prefer public hospitals for delivery in both rural (79.2 per cent) and urban areas (67.7 per cent).

5. As many as 85 per cent ST women in rural areas delivered in public hospitals — more than any other social group.

6. Households where mothers were illiterate were the most affected since 61 per cent of them were pushed into poverty.

Tania Sheshadri, an independent community health researcher who works with rural women in Karnataka, says, “The most vulnerable women who are trying to reach out for the government aid won’t be able to get it. In most parts of the country, there is a two-child norm and a scheme like this will not benefit most women. The government should concentrate on quality care for pregnant women and make available the benefits to every woman who reaches a government healthcare centre.”

Read Also: Maternity Scheme: Benefits apply only to first new born 

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