The status of women in
UP leaves much to be desired. The sex ratio as per the
1991 census was 879 females per 1,000 males as compared
to 927 in the country as a whole. The mortality estimates
for the period 1990-94 indicate that the expectation of
life for females is lower than that of males. The maternal
mortality ratio, which measures the extent of women dying
due to maternal causes within 6 weeks of delivery, is
the highest among all states. In 1997, there were an estimated
707 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births (SRS, 1998),
almost eight times that in Kerala and 70 percent higher
than the national average (436). Overall, 34 percent of
women in the state are mildly anaemic, 14 percent are
moderately anaemic and 2 percent are severely anaemic.
However, of the children under three years of age having
any degree of iron-deficiency anaemia, a lower proportion
of female children (69 percent) compared to male children
(73 percent) are anaemic (NFHS-II).
ANC services reach only half of the
total pregnant women in UP. Percentage given two or more
doses of tetanus toxoid (TT) injections increased from
37 percent in 1992-93 to 51 percent in 1998-99 (NFHS-II).
The efforts made by the state government to reach more
women with TT services using a special campaign approach
covering the entire state has resulted in a substantial
increase in the proportion of pregnant women receiving
two doses of TT injections. The proportion of pregnant
women given TT injections increased from 46 percent in
1998 to 68 percent in 1999, and pregnant women who received
two or more doses of TT injections increased from 42 percent
to 59 percent (SO2-IS). The percentage of women who received
iron and folic acid tablets increased only marginally
from 30 percent in 1992-93 to 32 percent in 1998-99 due
to constant disruptions in the supply chain (NFHS-II).
Another important aspect of maternal
and child health is institutional deliveries and deliveries
conducted by trained attendants. Institutional deliveries
increased from 11 percent in 1992-93 to 17 percent in
1998 (NFHS-II). Trained personnel provide assistance to
less than one-fourth of the total deliveries in the state
(RCHS). More than three-fourths of deliveries are attended
by untrained personnel in unhygienic conditions at home.
Substantial efforts are required to improve the quality
of maternal and child health care.
Fully immunized children increased substantially
from 20 percent in 1992-93 (NFHS-I) to 42 percent in 1998
(RCHS) and at the same time, children not getting any
vaccination declined from 43 percent to 30 percent. Deaths
due to acute diarrhoea are a significant proportion of
all deaths among children. Nearly all dehydration-related
deaths can be prevented by prompt administration of rehydration
solutions (ORS). Only 21 percent of mothers have ever
used ORS packets or recommended home solutions to overcome
problems of dehydration in 1992-93 (NFHS-I), and this
has increased to 36 percent in 1998 (RCHS). Nearly 71
percent of all children under three years of age have
Nearly one-third of currently married
women in the 15 to 44 age group have symptoms of reproductive
tract infections and sexually transmitted infections (RTIs/STIs)
as compared to only 21 percent of men aged 20-54 (RCHS).
Awareness of AIDS and HIV is extremely low both among
men (47 percent) and women (21 percent). UP has 166 AIDS
cases and urgent steps need to be taken to prevent further
spread of AIDS.