01, March 2010
By Nuradha Mascarenhas
The Pune zilla parishad gets private gynaecologists to visit rural health centres, where expectant mothers get free check–ups
“Women like me are getting royal treatment,” says Swati, pleasantly surprised at the attention. “The Pune Zilla Parishad vans come to fetch all the pregnant mothers in the area, they take us to the health centre where a private gynaecologist gives us folic acid tablets and other instructions. After that, we are treated to lunch and all of us interact for a while,” she says.
A minimum of three such check–ups by a private gynaecologist would have set Swati back by about Rs 2,400. With this new initiative to ensure better health care for rural mothers, the Pune Zilla Parishad has gone all out to provide transport, meals and check–ups free of cost. Swati spends a nominal Rs 300 for three check–ups.
At the end of three months of the project, 42,862 women have been examined and 5,226 expectant mothers have been categorised as ‘high–risk’. “We hope to bring down the maternal mortality rate and the infant mortality rate with this new initiative,” says Dr Sanjeev Kumar, CEO of the Pune Zilla Parishad. The maternal mortality rate in Pune is 60 for every one lakh deliveries and infant mortality rate is 25.8 for every 1,000 live births.
He has a clinic in Pune but has been allotted four rural PHCs. “I visit each PHC twice a week and spend my day there,” says Sidid, who is among the 25 private gynaecologists who have been enlisted by the Pune Zilla Parishad.
The doctors are paid Rs 1,000 for every visit, says Dr H H Chavan, district health officer who has been supervising the project since its inception in November last year. “How else do we motivate urban doctors to spend some time in rural areas,” he asks.
From March 1, a few radiologists will also start conducting ultrasound investigations, says Dr Amol Inamdar, additional health officer. Inamdar and his team visit each of the camps held across 13 blocks of Ambegaon, Baramati, Bhor, Daund, Haveli, Indapur, Junnar, Khed, Maval, Mulshi, Shirur, Purandar and Velha.
Institutional deliveries have been encouraged and advice is given on breast feeding. In each of the camps, Accredited Social Health Workers drive home the point of adequate rest for the mothers after delivery.
Dr Sandeep Sonawane, the medical officer at Wadimolai PHC, has registered 40 women from Ashtapur village on a hot Friday morning. “All these women are farm labourers. If the woman is in the third month of her pregnancy, she is given vaccination shots,” says Sonawane.