Pregnant women and infants to receive free healthcare

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New Delhi, May 26: In a bid to improve the maternal and infant mortality in the country, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has decided to provide free nutritious food, treatment, and transportation to all pregnant women who go to government facilities for delivery. Free healthcare services will also be provided to the newborns, as and when required.

The scheme, to be launched on June 1, from Mewat and Haryana, will be applicable for all women from the sub-centre to the district hospital levels which are covered under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

As of now, transportation facility is provided only for taking pregnant women to the health care facility during emergency or for delivery. The Centre would undertake the costs involved in transporting pregnant women to and from medical centres, including dropping her back home, said Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Also expressing concern over the selective abortion of girls, the Minister said the re-constituted Central Supervisory Board (CSB) was scheduled to meet on June 4 and all the States had been asked to give a report on the steps taken, in the past two years, under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994, to prevent female foeticide.

Describing the skewed sex ratio in the country as alarming, Mr. Azad said figures that had come up in the latest Census report would also be discussed during the meeting.

States have been asked to ensure provision of free services to pregnant women as well as to sick infants in government health institutions.

Highlighting the achievements of his Ministry in the past two years, Mr. Azad said the government had for the first time in three decades started talking of population stabilisation openly by promoting family planning.

OneIndia News

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