Assam midwife got 'pregnant' 85 times in 6 months

Assam midwife got 'pregnant' 85 times in 6 months

Siphons off aid meant for would-be mothers under govt scheme

Assam midwife got 'pregnant' 85 times in 6 months
The Assam Health Department has stumbled upon a corruption case wherein a government health worker in Southern Assam’s Hailakandi district has shown herself pregnant 85 times in six months and withdrawn money allotted to pregnant women under a state-sponsored scheme. 

Health Department sources said Lili Begum Majumdar, an auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM) working with the department and posted in the underdeveloped Hailakandi district, has been suspended after it was found that she had in the official records shown herself pregnant 85 times in six months and siphoned off allowance meant for pregnant women. 

Majumdar was posted at Nitainagar Sub Public Health Centre under the Algapur Public Health Centre (PHC) in Hailakandi. She was employed under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), said the sources. 

The district's Health Department received a complaint about corrupt practices in PHCs after an internal inquiry. 

A probe into the sub centre where Majumdar was working since August revealed the startling facts. 

The sub centre saw 155 pregnant women claiming pregnancy allowance under the state's Mamoni Scheme, but none of them were pregnant. 

To top it all, Majumdar’s own name appeared on the records 85 times, indicating that she took the money under the government scheme 85 times in six months, something that she later confessed to, said the official sources. The state government had launched the Mamoni scheme in 2009 under the Assam Vikash Yojana. It is seen as Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s pet project to reduce the state's high maternal and child mortality rates. 

All for allowanceIn this scheme, once a woman registers her pregnancy at the nearest government health facility, she is given Rs 500 as ante-natal allowance. 

On her second check-up she is given another Rs 500 as allowance. The same amount is given for the third check-up as well. 

Apart from this, a small financial aid is provided for expenses related to nutritional food and supplements. All the payments are done through cheques. 

Although Majumdar has been placed under suspension, the state Health Department is yet to take any strict action against her, and have not even lodged a police complaint in the case, said sources. 

Two months ago, in yet another bizarre case in the Hailakandi district, nine men were enrolled as “pregnant” under the Mamoni Scheme and cheques issued to them. Two ANMs were suspended in that case.

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