Fearing at least 15 to 20 per cent migration of people from drought-affected areas in Marathwada to cities like Pune, Mumbai and other cities in western Maharashtra, the state health department has sounded alert across all its 485 rural hospitals and 1,811 primary health centres to ensure that no one from these districts go without proper health checkups.
There is a need to step up focus to track each pregnant woman and child for reducing mortality rate and ensuring immunisation, Dr Satish Pawar, Director of Health, Maharashtra told The Indian Express. A meeting was held Tuesday to discuss measures to find solutions for the water crisis in the state as well.
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“We have 12 lakh pregnant women on our rolls and a rigorous check is maintained by the state health department as part of the maternal and child health tracking project,” Pawar said.
To ensure that the women are not denied ante natal care, instructions have been issued to the hospitals and 10,085 health care centres to keep track. Each pregnant woman has been given a health card with a 17-digit number. She is sent an SMS informing her of checkup details and also vaccination for the child.
Presently, Maharashtra has the second lowest maternal mortality rate of 68 per lakh live births in the country. Maharashtra also comes third after Kerala and Tamil Nadu in being able to reduce the infant mortality rate. The present infant mortality rate is 24 per 1,000 live births.
Marathwada, comprising of Aurangabad, Jalna, Parbhani, Nanded, Hingoli, Beed, Latur and Osmanabad districts, have been reeling under drought conditions and severe water scarcity. This has compelled many people to shift to the cities, health officials have pointed out.
”We are hoping for good rains in September, failing which the picture is scary,” admitted Dr Pawar.
“With the lack of rains, prices of vegetables are set to rise. The impact will be felt during Dussera and Diwali. Meanwhile, we will also check the quality of all sources of water along the Godavari belt as people tend to tap various sources when there is a shortage and the Godavari belt is known to breed bacteria that leads to cholera,” he added.