AIR spotlight summary on “Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Yojana”.
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with UNICEF launched a very important scheme aimed at improving maternal and child health which is India’s age old challenge. The idea is to launch a national campaign and a national level movement to provide antenatal care to a large number of pregnant women across the country. A lot of high risk pregnancy in India goes undetected especially in the rural sector where the availability of the health care professionals is low.
Highlights of Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Yojana
- The government for the first time is stepping in with all services and infrastructure and under Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Yojana it intends to annually cover 3 crore pregnant women in the country. Under this scheme 9th of every month will be designated in government hospitals in every district of all the states where any pregnant women is free to avail any range of antenatal services along with ultra sound and diagnostic facilities.
- MMR target for Sustainable Development Goals is 109 which we are yet to achieve. One of the objectives of the scheme is to help the country achieve the (SDGs) on IMR and MMR.
- The Ultra sound screening costs a lot. This scheme specially targets high risk pregnancy and the high risk pregnancy screening costs is much more.
What makes the scheme successful?
- Success of the scheme will depend on the mindset, implementation, infrastructure and preparation of the government. It is very credible and the timely approach by the government. There is no mention of the monetary authority in the scheme. In spite of the mobile penetration at the grass root level and delivering the messages to the mobile, how effectively the messages convert into women going to the centre will depend on how the supporting mechanism is in place.
- Success of the scheme depends on the ownership of the civil society and partnership with the private sector. The private sector should be interested if they want good business in the country. If the country wants to progress it is their responsibility to ensure that the human resource of the country is healthy. Private sector must also realise that they are availing so many benefits from the government and it is the time that they should give it back to the society.
Challenges for the successful implementation of the scheme
- The role of the social organisations, civil society and at the grass roots the gram sabha is very critical. The challenge the government needs to overcome is to ensure that the Public Health Centres are there and there are sufficient staff in the government hospitals. Little more advertising and involving some sort of a support system is required to do justice and for the success of the scheme.
- There is lack of infrastructure and health professionals especially in rural areas. Currently the ratio of doctors to the population is 1 doctor to every 2000 persons which is very poor. The WHO has insisted it should come down to every 1 doctor for 1000 population.
- Another challenge is the electricity required for the screening purpose in the rural areas.
- Chronic diseases are a big problem and there is lack of infrastructure, lack of mobile ambulance at some places. Even achieving 40 to 50 percent of the target is very good for the country which is so diverse and full of challenges.
- A lot of women in the country are employed and are becoming first time mothers at the old age which is creating the challenge of high risk pregnancy. With this the growth of abnormal foetus is rising. High risk is not only because of the late marriage, another factor is because of nuclear families. The mental and emotional pressure faced by women is also adding to her health problems making her pregnancy risky.
Need of the Hour
- There is need to create grass root level organisations in the rural areas and encourage grass root level organisations to be active. There is 83% shortage in rural health specialists and infrastructure facilities in India. Social activists in the villages should be incentivised.
- Indian medical association should come in a big way and the government should make it mandatory for all medical colleges that their final year students should dedicate one day in a month for some rural areas. Government can provide incentives and certificates which makes them feel a part of the whole process of development.
Government had launched mother absolute affection program which focuses on exclusive breast feeding by women. Exclusive breast feeding of children for the first 6 months improves their cognitive skills and general health. Government had also started the Mission Indradhanush which aims to immunize all children under the age of 2 years and pregnant women against seven vaccine preventable diseases. All the three schemes are very well synchronised and it is our duty to make it successful.