"May 2nd 2023: A Tragic Day for the Sporting Community and Women Empowerment as We Mourn the Loss of Tori Bowie, Olympic Gold Medalist".Tori Bowie was eight months into her pregnancy, and the autopsy report revealed that she was suffering from Eclampsia. It was also reported that the baby she was carrying was stillborn at her death.
Eclampsia, a life-threatening condition that typically occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy is characterized by seizures during pregnancy, and poses a significant risk to women worldwide, it is a condition marked by high blood pressure and organ damage. The exact causes of eclampsia remain unclear, but several risk factors have been identified, including maternal age, obesity, multiple pregnancies, history of high blood pressure, and certain medical conditions.
While Eclampsia can affect women from any part of the world, it poses a significant burden on Indian women, given the country's high maternal mortality rate and the prevalence of associated risk factors.
India continues to face challenges in ensuring safe pregnancies and reducing maternal mortality rates. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India accounted for approximately 13% of global maternal deaths in 2017. Eclampsia, a major contributor to maternal mortality, plays a significant role in this statistic. The lack of awareness and poor healthcare infrastructure in many parts of the country contribute to the higher incidence and severity of eclampsia cases.
1) Risk Factors
Several risk factors make Indian women more vulnerable to eclampsia. These factors include teenage pregnancies, undernutrition, anaemia, obesity, pre-existing hypertension, and gestational diabetes. Additionally, socio-economic disparities, lack of education, and limited access to quality healthcare contribute to the problem further. In rural areas with limited healthcare facilities, women often lack essential prenatal care, making it challenging to detect and manage conditions such as preeclampsia before progressing to eclampsia.
2) Early Detection and Prevention
Early detection and prevention strategies play a crucial role in reducing the impact of eclampsia. Regular antenatal check-ups are essential for monitoring blood pressure, proteinuria (the presence of excessive protein in the urine, a common sign of preeclampsia), and other warning signs. Educating women about the symptoms of preeclampsia, such as severe headaches, vision changes, abdominal pain, and swelling in the hands and face, can help them recognize the condition and seek medical attention promptly.
3) Improving Healthcare Infrastructure
To effectively combat eclampsia, there is an urgent need to strengthen healthcare infrastructure across the country, particularly in rural areas. This includes increasing the number of well-equipped and accessible healthcare facilities, training healthcare professionals to identify and manage preeclampsia and eclampsia cases, and improving the availability of essential drugs and equipment. Furthermore, the government should invest in educational campaigns to raise community awareness about the risks associated with eclampsia.
4) Collaboration between Public and Private Sectors
Addressing eclampsia requires a collaborative effort between the public and private sectors. Public-private partnerships can help bridge the gaps in healthcare services, facilitate the delivery of affordable and quality care, and expand access to diagnostic tests and medications. The government can incentivize private healthcare providers to establish clinics and hospitals in underserved areas, ensuring that women have access to comprehensive prenatal care and timely intervention.