Maternal and Child Health has received utmost priority from the Health Ministry : Ghulam Nabi Azad
INVC,, Mumbai,, The 54th All India Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology began in Mumbai today. Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare was the Chief Guest at the inaugural programme. Addressing the function, Shri Azad said Maternal and Child Health has received utmost priority from the Health Ministry. There has been a significant decline in MMR, IMR and TFR in India. The current MMR as per the latest Sample Registration Survey is 212 per 100,000 live-births and the IMR is 44 per 1,000 live births. However, the current pace of decline needs to be further accelerated to achieve the commitments on the millennium development goals. About 28 million pregnancies occur along with an estimated 56,000 maternal deaths in India every year. Accordingly, our task is more challenging due to the regional disparities that exist in the country with the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Orissa and Assam contributing to more than two-thirds of the MMR burden. We have an urban India and a huge rural India with long pending and ever increasing demands for provision of healthcare services. He said since the launch of National Rural Health Mission 7 years ago, substantial progress has been achieved. About Rs. 90,000 crores has been provided to States/UTs. New Health Infrastructure has been created. About 43,500 new construction and up-gradation works were taken up to improve health facilities. About 70,000 beds have been increased in the country in government health institutions for provision of essential and emergency services. Addition of about 1.5 lakh human resources includes Specialists, Doctors, Nurses, ANMs and Para-medics. Over 8,60,000 Community Health Workers called ASHAs have been appointed in villages to act as bridge between the communities and the health facilities. An innovative scheme of providing cash assistance to pregnant women delivering in public health facilities was launched. Under the Safe Motherhood Scheme, the number of women choosing to access and deliver in public health institutions at primary, community, district and tertiary hospitals rose from 7,00,000 in 2005-06 to over 11 million in 2011-12.Amajor nation-wide intervention was added in 2011 to eliminate totally out-of-pocket expenses for both pregnant women and sick neonates. Under JSSK scheme, every pregnant woman is now entitled to absolutely free delivery, including caesarean section, in public health institutions. Besides the free ant-natal and post-natal check-ups, this new scheme provides for free diagnostics, free medicines, free consumables, free food during hospital stay, free caesarean section and free blood, if required and free transport to health facility and drop back home. Similar entitlements are also available to sick newborns up to 30 days after birth. Shri Azad said Mother and Child Tracking System (MCTS) has been put in place to reach out to every pregnant woman for proper care during pregnancy and to every child for proper vaccination. Information is collected to track every mother and child by name, address and telephone for which a BPO type system has been set up in the Ministry to verify the data and inform the women of the check-ups and immunization schedule. Data entry of more than 3.5 crore women and 2.7 crore children has been done so far.In a unique initiative, the government has also launched a scheme wherein male and female contraceptives are being delivered at the doorstep of households in the high focus districts of the country by the ASHAs at a nominal cost (Rs.1 for Rs.5 packet; app 20% of the cost).Another scheme was initiated for the promotion of menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls in the age group of 10-19 years in rural areas. The scheme covers about 1.5 crore girls in the age group of 10-19 years in 152 districts of 20 states. He said the childbearing women need a “continuum of care” to ensure the best possible health outcome for them and their newborns. The continuum starts from before conception to childhood through pregnancy, childbirth and infancy. If complications occur, women and their newborns need care at secondary or tertiary level. The successful provision of a continuum of care requires a well-functioning and quality conscious health system, which includes the regulatory framework and policies that support provision of effective maternal and newborn health through skilled attendants. Many innovative steps have been taken to improve the healthcare services and general well-being of our population, particularly women and children. The need of the hour is to prioritize available resources into health facilities which need them the most and institute effective mechanisms for regular monitoring quality of services. Greater engagement of Medical College faculty, Professional Bodies like FOGSI, the private sector and civil society are welcome developments. The involvement of large number of professionals under the banner of FOGSI will build up further partnerships in implementation of evidence based strategies, research and training of service providers, particularly in inaccessible and hard to reach areas, he added. It may be mentioned that the All India Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AICOG) is the important annual event on the academic calendar of the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecological Societies of India (FOGSI) involved with women’s health. Gynecologists and medical experts from India and abroad participate in the academic event. The programme includes pre-congress workshops, continuous medical education sessions, detailed scientific sessions, free paper and poster presentations. FOGSI is the professional organization representing practitioners of obstetrics and gynecology in India. With 219 member societies and over 27,000 individual members spread over the length and breadth of the country, FOGSI is one of the largest membership based organizations of specialized professionals. FOGSI has close links and affiliation with international and regional organizations like FIGO, AOFOG and SAFOG.