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Teaming up for safe childbirth

The state government is mulling to depute medical teams comprising a gynaecologist, paediatrician and anaesthetist each at all subdivisional hospitals to ensure safety of the mother and her newborn.

This was revealed during an event at a Ranchi hotel on Monday to mark the launch of MSD for Mothers in the state.

MSD for Mothers (also known as Merck for Mothers), is a global initiative aimed to ensure no woman dies giving birth.

Health minister Rajendra Prasad Singh and state director of National Rural Health Mission Manish Ranjan, health officials, doctors and NGO representatives were present at the meet.

“There are many inaccessible places in far-flung areas of the state from where women in labour can’t be taken for institutional delivery. And even if they are ferried somehow, many are referred to other hospitals in many cases. So, majority of them die on their way,” said minister Singh, who was the chief guest.

Ranjan agreed with him.

“It is true. About a quarter of expectant mothers in the state do not get any prenatal care,” Ranjan said.

He pointed out that the maternal mortality rate in the state was 229 per one lakh live births. “We need to bring it down to below 100,” he said.

Health minister Singh revealed the state government, in its bid to achieve this improved figure, was seriously giving a thought to posting such specialised medical teams at subdivisional levels.

Sensitising nursing staff and counselling patients and their relatives on post-natal care also came up for discussion.

Giving details about the programme, MSD India managing director K.G. Ananthakrishnan said: “Besides Jharkhand, the three-year pilot project has also been launched in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.”

In Jharkhand, it will cover five districts, namely Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bokaro, Giridih and Dhanbad.

“The project is divided into two parts,” Ananthakrishnan added.

While one is aimed at improving the quality of care offered by private health facilities in urban areas, the other will be a free phone-based service for women to rate the treatment they received and hold healthcare providers more accountable.