Every five minutes, at least one woman dies of complications related to pregnancy or childbirth in India, according to the World Health Organisation. In a statement, the United Nations agency said 26.7% (1,36,000) of the total maternal deaths (5,29,000) recorded in the world occur in India alone, reported IANS.

“In fact, two-thirds of maternal deaths occur after delivery, postpartum hemorrhage being the most commonly reported complication. The incidence of emergency postpartum hysterectomies is about 83/100,000 with a maternal mortality of 17.7% and a perinatal mortality of 37.5%,” the WHO said, adding that the country has an acute shortage of blood supply. The agency has prescribed a reserve of 1% of the population in any country. India has a deficit of 25%, by that standard.

Postpartum haemorrhage is a medical complication in which the mother loses more than 500 ml or 1,000 ml of blood within the first 24 hours after childbirth. “The latest estimates of maternal mortality rate [MMR] in India from 2011-13, show an average of 167 deaths/100,000 live births," it said, noting that there is a huge geographical disparity in the trend noticed. While the highest MMR was recorded in Assam (300), the least number of such deaths was found in Kerala (61).