The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rural mother care centres soon

Raiganj, Nov. 9: All the 19 primary health centres in North Dinajpur will soon have child delivery facilities, so long absent in a district which has the highest newborn and mother deaths in the state every year.

“Every year an average of 80,000 babies are born and 5,000 of them die. The post-natal mortality rate stands at 60 per 1,000 and the mother death rate after delivery 3 out of every 1,000. The rates are the highest in the state,” said S.S. Sahoo, the chief medical officer of health of the district.

A recent survey has revealed that only 27 per cent of deliveries take place in government hospitals and the rest are born either at home or in private nursing homes or establishments run by quacks, Sahoo said.

“The primary health centres in far-flung areas do not have any facilities to take care of pregnant women — which force them either to go to the block primary health centres or the subdivisional and district hospitals traversing bad roads,” he said adding that these factors contributed to the high mortality rates of the newborns and their mothers.

“We have started receiving funds under the National Rural Health Mission to set up labour rooms in the primary health centres in the district,” Sahoo said. All the centres have been inspected, the location for the labour rooms decided and the labour tables have been supplied. The nurses have also received training at the Raiganj district hospital in a 15-day orientation course, the district health chief said.

“However, we will not have any facilities for delivery under Caesarean section in the primary health centres. Those who need surgery will be taken to the nearest government facility by ambulance.”

The labour room at the Durgapur primary health centre in the Raiganj block has been made functional for nearly three weeks and the rest will be done by the end of this year.

“We have successfully delivered 30 babies and the people here are happy with the development,” said the medical officer of the Durgapur primary health centre, Pralay Naskar.

Matun Das, an expectant mother who came to the primary health centre, said the pregnant women in the area had so far travelled to the district hospital, 15km away, to deliver babies. “A big problem we (the expectant mothers) used to face has been solved. We are also saving money for the transport.”

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