Now, deliveries in public health facilities to be free

New Delhi, Feb 1 (PTI) In some good news for would-beparents, the government today announced that deliveries inpublic health facilities will be made completely free of cost.

At the 8th meeting of the International Advisory Panel(IAP) for reviewing the National Rural Health Mission heldhere today, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said that at thepolicy level it has been decided that deliveries in publichealth facilities shall be completely free of cost and fullante-natal care will be ensured.

"Two critical mechanisms of maternal death reviews andname-based tracking of every pregnant woman and childimmunised have been initiated to bring down the maternal andinfant mortality and morbidity," he said.

The name-based tracking system will result in creatinga database of all pregnant women with their addresses andtelephone numbers. They could be contacted and monitored inrespect of their ante-natal care, institutional delivery andpost-natal care.

Similarly, the immunisation of the children could bemonitored to identify dropouts and full immunisation ensured.

The Mother and Child Tracking System is already operational inGujarat, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu while the other states arein the implementation phase, the minister informed.

Azad acknowledged that the recommendations of themid-term evaluation report on the National Rural HealthMission prepared by the IAP have immensely helped provideuseful inputs for improving the programme implementation.

The minister recounted that over the past six years,funds to the tune of Rs 55,000 crore have been released underNRHM.

This has helped in improving the infrastructurefacilities, augmentation of human resources and quality ofcare, he noted.

The OPD and IPD patients in health facilities havealso increased.

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