Maternal and Infant Mortality Rates

Challenging Health and Nutrition Indicators for Women and Children in Meghalaya

Improving Maternal and Infant Mortality Rates in Meghalaya

Historically, the improvement of health and nutrition indicators for pregnant women and young children has been challenging for Meghalaya, one of the states with the highest percentage of indigenous population in North-East India. As per NFHS-4 Meghalaya report, only 35.8 percent of children under six months were exclusively breastfed and only 23.6 percent children (6-23 months) received an adequate diet (Inadequate complementary feeding during the weaning period is thought to be a significant contributor to child malnutrition in India) (NFHS-4). In entirety, the critical indicators for health and nutrition were below national average.


As part of the State Capability Enhancement Framework, the state leadership initiated a practice of weekly reviews with district officials to improve action and accountability. The weekly reviews serve as a platform to identify challenges and brainstorm ideas to address them. The reviews were complemented by efforts to improve the data systems. The state led the design and implementation of Mother App (An App used for tracking high risk pregnant women), which shows the status of service delivery and allows officials at different levels to take corrective action. At the community level, the state has been strengthening community leadership and demand by creating Village Health Councils and leveraging the Self-Help Group network. Moreover, the state used the reviews to identify critical issues such as lack of transportation options, the need for high risk pregnant women to come early to facilities and trust in traditional birth attendants, all of which are being addressed through a new state programme called Chief Ministers Safe Motherhood Scheme. As a result of these efforts, there has been a noticeable decline in maternal and infant deaths. Maternal deaths have reduced by almost 30% and infant deaths by 20%.