Incentives for reporting maternal deaths

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The central government’s ‘Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan,’ an initiative under the National Health Mission, now includes plans to end poor reporting of maternal deaths. This is besides free transportation and access for identification of maternal complications. 

The initiative is aimed at ensuring better access to maternal and newborn healthcare.

Newborn care visits

The programme includes four antenatal checkups of the mother and the child and six home-based newborn care visits are mandatory. There are also a checkup in the first trimester, Iron and Folic Acid supplementation and vaccinations.

Free transport from home to health institutions on dialling ‘102’ or ‘108’ and referral services reaching health facility within one hour of an emergency and drop-back from institution to home after due discharge (after a minimum of 48 hours) are a few plans under the new programme.

As part of the new programme, postpartum counselling, which includes counselling on family planning,
will also be offered to the mothers.

“The initiative focuses on assured delivery of maternal and newborn healthcare services, better access to quality care services at no cost and a zero-tolerance attitude to denial of services, better handling of complications and taking into account the choices made by the mother through the delivery or later,” said an official with the Health department.

As per the guidelines of the programme, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines Quality of Care for mothers and newborns as “the extent to which healthcare services provided to individuals and patient populations improve desired health outcomes. In order to achieve this, healthcare must be safe, effective, timely, efficiently integrated, equitable and people-centred.”

Rs 1K to 1st responder

National and state-level monitors are being formed to keep track of the reporting of maternal deaths.

In addition to this, the programme provides Rs 1,000 to the first responder reporting a maternal death. Previously, top officials of the Department of Health and Family Welfare had raised concerns over poor reporting of maternal deaths by hospitals and healthcare workers.

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