Telangana: Kitting them out young

In Telangana, when a baby is born, mothers receive a gift hamper from the govt. This has increased the number of deliveries in govt hospitals and reduced the number of caesareans

Sreelatha Menon | May 4, 2018


#K Chandrashekhar Rao   #KCR   #normal delivery   #caesareans   #baby delivery   #Telangana  
Chief minister KCR and GoI’s economic advisor Arvind Subramanian take a look at a sample kit (Photo: Twitter/KCR)
Chief minister KCR and GoI’s economic advisor Arvind Subramanian take a look at a sample kit (Photo: Twitter/KCR)

When a child is born, relatives and friends bring gifts for the mother and child. Taking cue from that practice, the K Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) government in Telangana started giving mothers a “KCR kit” – a tin of talcum powder, baby oil and soap, a towel, diapers, a mosquito net, a baby matress, and a set of clothes. In addition, there’s a cash component of '12,000. Apparently the gift has made a huge difference. In the year since the practice was begun, the number of deliveries in government healthcare centres and hospitals has gone up; simultaneously, the number of caesarean sections has gone down.
 
Institutional delivery was never a matter of concern for Andhra Pradesh or the newly created Telangana: 92 percent of deliveries were institutional. However, deliveries in government institutions were only 31 percent till January 2017. In essence, people were preferring to go for deliveries to private hospitals. This ties to the proportion of caesarean sections too. For private hospitals tend to coerce patients into going for childbirth through caesarean section. Since the introduction of the kit, however, deliveries in government hospitals have gone up to 50.44 percent (in September 2017), and as a result, there have been proportionally fewer caesarean sections.
 
The KCR kit is not a new idea. It was modelled on the ‘Amma kit’, first introduced by former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalitha in her state. The scheme also derives funds from the Janani Suraksha Yojana, which has been existence for many years and has been modified further by the NDA government at the centre. In fact, the BJP leadership in Telangana has even questioned the state government’s attempt to claim credit for the kits, saying that it is partially funded by the centre.
 
The financial component is given in three tranches: Rs 3,000 is put in the mother’s account after completion of two ante-natal check-ups in the first five months. Later Rs 4,000 is added to her account if the baby is male and Rs 5,000 if the baby is female. That is not all. An amount of Rs 2,000 accrues to the mother’s account after the first immunisation – that is, within three months of delivery – and Rs 3,000 after the second immunisation, within nine months of delivery. If a girl child is born, the mother gets Rs 1,000 extra. About '605 crore has been allocated for the scheme, which also provides a handbag and cotton sarees for mothers.
 
Piush, a social development consultant, says the scheme seems to appeal to women and if it helps increase institutional deliveries in government institutions, why not? According to the state government, some two lakh KCR kits have been distributed. But has it made a difference by bringing down infant mortality rates? While a clear link cannot be made to the kit programme, it is assumed that an increase in institutional deliveries should have helped reduce infant mortality.
 
According to the State of India’s Newborns 2014, a nationwide survey report on neonatal health indicators, undivided AP figured at the bottom of southern states, also comprising Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The report was prepared by international NGO Save the Children, the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), All India Institute of Medical Sciences and the union ministry of health and family welfare. The comprehensive survey, also supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, placed Kerala on top with an IMR of 12 deaths per 1,000 live births, followed by Tamil Nadu’s IMR of 21, Karnataka’s of 32 and AP/Telangana’s IMR of 41 deaths.
 
The then Andhra Pradesh government’s Vaidya Vidhana Parishad, which conducted the health programmes, admitted failure of centrally funded schemes for infant and maternal health. They had attributed this to the shortage of paediatricians in government institutions as they were unwilling to work for a low salary in the government sector.
 
The Telangana government is currently working on increasing the number of labour rooms by at least 100 while standardising the existing 200. The bed strength of maternity units is also being increased. According to a statement by health minister C Lakshma Reddy to the media this year, the government wants the institutional deliveries in government hospitals to be 50 percent of the total deliveries in the state, which are about 6.2 lakh.
 
The Telangana government seems to be serious about the matter as in April it also for the first time in two decades announced recruitment for 4,000 health posts in the governemnt services, which includes 150 gynaecologists, and 172 paediatricians and 176 anaesthetists, besides paramedics and doctors in other specialities.
 
The commissioner of health and the family welfare department have been gung-ho about the KCR kits and have said that they are all set to prove that the state is indeed the best as far as infant health is concerned. That would happen the day Telangana overtakes Kerala and Karnataka in that department. Will it happen in the near future? 
 
feedback@governancenow.com

(The article appears in May 15, 2018 edition)

Comments

 

Other News

Media trial a dangerous trend: Aryama Sundaram

There is a danger in media doing trials of ongoing cases and this must be stopped, says senior advocate Aryama Sundaram. He castigated media trials and said nowadays in media while a case is going on you have debates where people are discussing what is right and what is wrong, which way the

PM launches Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission. Speaking at the launch, the Prime Minister said that the campaign of strengthening health faci

Want to learn the art of politics? There’s a course for it

Twenty-five youngsters with dreams of becoming political leaders – or of contributing meaningfully to governance processes – have begun their exciting journey, in a formal setting of an education institute. The Indian Institute of Democratic Leadership (IIDL), of the Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini (

Making sense of facts – and alternative facts

The Art of Conjuring Alternate Realities: How Information Warfare Shapes Your World By Shivam Shankar Singh and Anand Venkatanarayanan HarperCollins / 284 pages / Rs 599 Professor Noam Chomsky, linguist and public intellectual, has often spoken of &ls

The Manali Trance: Economics of Abandoning Caution in the Time of Coronavirus

The brutal second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India has left a significant death toll in its wake. Health experts advise that the imminent third wave can be delayed by following simple measures like wearing a mask and engaging in social distancing. However, near the end of the second wave, we witnesse

Govt considers fixing driving hrs of commercial vehicles

Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has emphasised deciding driving hours for truck drivers of commercial vehicles, similar to pilots, to reduce fatigue-induced road accidents. In a Na

Visionary Talk: Aryama Sundaram, Senior Advocate on Governance & Judiciary


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter