GUWAHATI, Dec 12: Chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday stated that maternal mortalities have dropped by more than 33 per cent, and child deaths decreased by nearly 15 per cent following the initiation of measures against child marriage in the state this year.
He vowed to eradicate child marriage by 2026 and informed that more than 5,000 people already arrested in multiple cases.
“Child marriage is a social evil, which also manifests undesirable health outcomes such as high infant and maternal mortality rates. Our crackdown has yielded encouraging results in women & child health sphere. By 2026, Assam will end this abhorrent practice,” Sarma wrote micro-blogging site X.
Highlighting the challenges, Sarma emphasized that Assam’s infant mortality rate (IMR) and maternal mortality rates (MMR) surpass the national average, particularly in specific districts. He attributed the primary cause to child marriage.
The chief minister said that in 2020, under-5 mortality in the state was 40 per cent, exceeding the national average of 32 per cent.
As per sarma, the government’s response involved arresting over 5,000 individuals in a comprehensive crackdown against child marriage, appointing gram panchayat secretaries as officers for prevention.
“These efforts led to a 33.4 per cent reduction in maternal deaths (from 766 to 510) and a 14.7 per cent decrease in child deaths (from 7,872 to 6,718),” Sarma added.
The crackdown against child marriage and teenage pregnancy will continue till the government achieves its goal of eradicating these by 2026, the CM added.