Mandi Khera (Haryana): A national initiative
that will allow pregnant women to undergo delivery free of
cost in government health institutions was launched here on Wednesday by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi who termed maternal and infant
mortality as a "matter of sadness".
The initiative that will also cover Cesarean section
deliveries envisages among other things providing free drugs
and transport to pregnant women and free treatment to sick
newborns in government health units.
Over one crore women and newborns who access public
health institutions every year in both urban and rural areas
are expected to benefitted by the `Janani-Shishu Suraksha
Karyakram` (JSSK) of the Union Ministry of Health.
Gandhi hoped that states would implement this scheme with
"It is a matter of sadness that about 67,000 women die
during childbirth every year in India and nine lakh children
die within one month of birth. This scheme will give right to
all pregnant women to have free delivery in government health
institutions," she said launching the programme in Al-Afia
Hospital in this backward minority-dominated Haryana district.
She said the National Rural health Mission which started
from 2005 improved the healthcare services. The JSSK, she
said, will ensure free delivery, diagnostic tests, provision
for blood and free transport from home to health unit.
The scheme will cover free Cesarean section, exemption
from user charge, free drugs, diet during stay in health units
-- three days in case of normal delivery and seven days for
C-section, free transport between facilities in case of
referral and drop back home after 48 hours stay. Sick newborns
will get free treatment up to 30 days and other services.