Guwahati, Aug. 8: The various health schemes introduced by the Assam government have helped lower the maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rates over the past few years.
However, the schemes still have a long way to go to ensure the health of all mothers and newborns in the state.
At present, the maternal mortality rate of Assam is 347 per one lakh live births, which is still higher than the national average rate of 172 per one lakh live births.
The infant mortality rate is 55 per 1,000 live births, which, too, is higher than the national average of 44.
The Assam health department over the past few years had introduced several health schemes like Mamomi, Majoni, Janani Sishu Suraksha Yojana and Janani Suraksha Yojana to promote institutional delivery.
But many women in remote areas still do not avail of institutional deliveries.
“When a woman in an inaccessible area goes into labour, there may not be enough time to bring her to a hospital. In such case, she may opt for delivery at the hands of an untrained midwife. Therefore, we have started to transport women in remote areas through the recently launched palanquin service up to a point, from where she will be transported to the hospital in 108 ambulances. In riverine areas, they are first transported by ambulances and then carried across the river to a hospital through boat ambulances. She is then transported to a hospital by another ambulance from the bank,” said Atul Sarma, consultant, Child Health, of NRHM Assam.
“During institutional delivery doctors can prevent blood loss, which is one of the prime causes of death among mothers. Besides, the baby can also be easily treated for any illness,” said Sarma.
Mamomi ensures three free ante-natal check-ups for pregnant women with cash benefits and under Majoni, each girl child born is given an amount of Rs 5,000, which is kept as fixed deposit and later handed to her after she attains 18 years of age.
Under Janani Sishu Suraksha Karyakaram, free institutional deliveries, including Caesarean sections with free treatment facilities, are provided to mothers and infants.
Under Janani Suraksha Yojana, a woman receives Rs 1,400 for delivering her child in government hospitals in rural areas and Rs 1,000 in urban areas. “The Assam government and NRHM have introduced various schemes to promote safe institutional delivery in hospitals. The accredited social health activists (ASHAs), too, interact with pregnant women to educate them on benefits of institutional delivery. These helped in lowering the infant mortality rate from 420 per one lakh live births about four years ago to 347 per one lakh live births now. The IMR, too, has reduced from 68 per 1,000 live births to 55 per 1,000 live births now,” said Sarma.