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AstraZeneca pledges support to FOGSI's campaign on safe motherhood

Written by: Staff

Mumbai, May 14 (UNI) Concerned over high maternal mortality rate in India, AstraZeneca Pharma has pledged to continue its support to Federation of Obsetetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI)'s ''Suprabha Ganga Yatra'' which is aimed at spreading ''Safe Motherhood'' messages in local languages.

As many as 1,50,000 women die every year in India from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth, an AstraZeneca release here said.

The FOGSI has undertaken the ''Suprabha Ganga Yatra'' to make rural women the services available to them and it is part of a five-year plan intended at bringing down the maternal mortality rates.

Last year, the pharma company had joined hands with FOGSI to promote a public awareness campaign ''Anmol Anchal'' under which over 60 live workshops on the theme ''Safe Motherhood'' were conducted for doctors across the country, the release said.

As part of the ''yatra'', FOGSI member doctors visit villages along the Ganges and conduct health camps for women, especially younger women. They educate the women on reproductive health and vaccinate young girls with Rubella vaccine to protect them against German measles during pregnancy. Basic medicines and iron and calcium tablets are provided by the team of FOGSI doctors, numbering around 40, who walk 20 km daily along the Ganges starting from Gangasagar to Gaumukh and Gangotri, the release said.

The release quoted AstraZeneca managing director Bhaskar Iyer as saying, ''The biggest tragedy about maternal mortality is that it is entirely avoidable. Even in rural areas, it can be greatly reduced if not eliminated.'' Suprabha Ganga Yatra national coordinator Dr Shirin Venkat, who is a consultant at the Pune-based Ruby Hall Clinic, says reducing maternal mortalitiy is not just about saving women's lives, but also about improving the general quality of care and information that mothers-to-be receive before becoming pregnant. Maternal mortality is not just a health problem, it is violation of women's human rights and the key to reducing the maternal mortality lies in educating the girl child and removing the gender bias, adds Dr Venkat.


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