Doctors produce docu-dramas to promote safe motherhood


New Delhi : As the world celebrated Population Day Wednesday, a doctors' body said they had made a series of documentary films to reduce maternal mortality, which claims nearly 100,000 lives in India, for spreading awareness in rural areas.

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With a focus on safe motherhood, the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) has produced a 13-episode documentary drama titled Jeevan Dor (Lifeline) for radio and television.

The group said over 90 percent of maternal deaths were preventable and what was required was awareness. Nearly 100,000 women die during childbirth in India every year – almost 20 percent of the global maternal deaths.

July 11 is celebrated as World Population Day and the UN this year has focussed on safe motherhood and the role of men as partners in maternal health.

The radio programme by FOGSI – Jeevan Dor – was launched earlier this month on All India Radio (AIR) stations in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand.

The 30-minute episodes feature a dramatised depiction of various complications arising in pregnancy and childbirth, followed by panel discussions with healthcare professionals and opinion leaders. A TV adaptation will follow on Doordarshan in the same states.

"The unique character of this first-of-its-kind initiative is that doctors are involved in producing this serial, aimed at reducing maternal mortality through education of mothers-to-be and their families," said FOGSI president Pankaj Desai.

"It will make them aware about the benefits of institutional delivery (delivery at hospital) under the supervision of medical practitioners," Desai told IANS.

According to National Family Health Survey-III, at least 60 percent of Indian women give birth at home. Experts believe that post birth bleeding is a major cause of maternal mortality in India.

FOGSI, the 57-year-old doctors' body with over 20,000 members, chose radio and television to spread awareness as these have the widest reach in rural India.

"A three-month long, sustained campaign on radio followed by TV would help in creating the necessary awareness. We believe that this very powerful medium will help us spread the message about making motherhood safe for all Indian women," he added.

AstraZeneca Pharma India Ltd is supporting the doctors' project.

Said Anandh Balasundaram, managing director of the company: "The biggest tragedy about maternal mortality is that it is entirely avoidable. That is why FOGSI decided to air Jeevan Dor in maximally affected states of India and we decided to support it."

Last year, FOGSI had organised 'Suprabha Ganga Yatra', a 2,400-km walkathon with member doctors walking 20 km daily along the Ganges, starting from Gangasagar to Gaumukh and Gangotri, to spread awareness about safe motherhood practices.