Soon, all services free to pregnant women in govt hospitals

Govt takes steps to bring down infant and maternal mortality, develops tracking system for child immunisation


Sonal Matharu | May 26, 2011

In a dire need to bring down the infant and maternal mortality rates in India, the health ministry from June 1 will launch a new programme where all facilities to pregnant women who seek services from a government health facility will be free of cost till the time of her stay in the health facility. Health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad announced this on Wednesday here on the occasion of completing two years of service in office.

“The infant mortality and maternal mortality in India is worse than its neighbouring countries. This new scheme will benefit women across the country,” said Azad.

All the facilities that the pregnant woman seeks in the government hospital, be it at tertiary, secondary or primary levels, will be free of cost. This includes meals, drugs administered and all investigations like x-rays and MRIs. The health ministry would also take care of the to and fro transportation cost which the woman would bear to come to a hospital.

“In our earlier schemes, money was paid only for bringing the pregnant woman to a hospital. This new scheme will also provide service to send her back home,” informed Azad.

Child immunisation

Another step which the health ministry is taking to ensure that the states provide correct information to the centre on the ongoing schemes is a tracking system for mothers and infants.

The ministry is all set to launch an internal checking system wherein through phone calls they can check if the infants have been administered the drug which the state government records show.

The state government health facilities will now be filling forms where the infant’s name, address and some telephone number his or her parents can be contacted at will be filled. The information will then be checked by the health ministry through a BPO, which will be set up in the ministry and will be functional in a fortnight. Here they will call on the number fed in the form to check if the information is correct and whether the child has been given the vaccine dose as mentioned on the form.

“The cost of the vaccines and facilities provided to store the vaccine is all borne by the health ministry. Through this tracking system we can check if the money is being effectively used or not,” said Azad.

All the false entries will not be counted and this system will give a foolproof system of record maintain in two years, added Azad.



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