Primary health workers win government laurels

New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) Recognising the importance of ground-level health workers in reducing maternal mortality, the government Thursday conferred awards on nurses, midwives and primary health workers for exceptional contribution to public health.

Nominations for national safe motherhood awards for health personnel were earlier received from across the country.

The awards were given away by Rakesh Kumar, joint secretary in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, to ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Workers), ANMs (Auxilliary Nurses and Midwives) and doctors, in recognition of work that helped reduce maternal mortality.

“Health workers have been instrumental in making a difference in the lives of women and mothers. Social determinants for health like early marriage and early pregnancy, and child spacing issues need to be addressed,” Rakesh Kumar said, after giving away the awards.

Himanshu Bhushan, deputy commissioner, maternal health, in the health ministry, said that the workers awarded Thursday were from 10 high-focus states.

India has seen considerable progress in bringing down the number of women dying due to childbirth-related causes. The country has reduced MMR (Maternal Mortality Rate) significantly from 437 per one lakh live births in 1999 to 212 at present.

The reduction of maternal mortality is also one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) announced by the UN. The country has set a target of bringing down the maternal mortality rate to 109 per one lakh live births by 2015.

April 11 is observed as national safe motherhood day in India.

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