India has seen a fall in maternal mortality rate (MMR) by 59 percent between 1990 and 2008, but the huge rural urban divide in these rates are overlooked making it home to the highest number of women dying during childbirth across the world. One such state is Uttar-Pradesh, a highly populous state with more than170 million people which continues to have highest reported maternal mortality ratio at 440 per 100, 000 live births and which still remains above the national average. Even within a state, the access to and utilization of maternal health care varies based on region rural or urban, caste, religion, income, and education. Research has identified four important reasons for the continuing high maternal mortality rate in Uttar Pradesh: barriers to emergency care, poor referral practices, gaps in continuity of care, and improper demands for payment as a condition for delivery of healthcare services.
Pulitzer Prize winning authors Kristof and Wudunn put it all together in a new book, Half the Sky:Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. .