Usually, it takes at least three months to perform 150 deliveries at rural hospitals in Junnar and Saswad. But this target was achieved within a fortnight, thanks to a new initiative by the state government, under which the deputy director of health, Pune circle, has provided cash incentives to specialists including gynaecologists, radiologists and anaesthetists, for examination of pregnant women, performing C-sections and complicated deliveries. The incentive is part of the government’s effort to lower the maternal and infant mortality rate by encouraging institutional deliveries in rural areas.
Under the guidance of Dr Sanjeev Kumar, commissioner, Directorate of Health Services, Maharashtra, funds sourced from the National Health Mission are being used to provide these cash incentives to specialists from the private sector to perform deliveries at government health centres.
The state government will pay Rs 4,000 for every birth through a C-Section delivery, while Rs 1,500 will be given for every normal delivery. For the check-up of a pregnant women, a doctor will be given Rs 40 by the state government.
The incentives have been announced to improve health indicators, including maternal mortality rate (MMR) and infant mortality rate (IMR), said Dr Sanjay Deshmukh, deputy director of health, Pune Circle, which comprises Pune, Satara and Solapur districts.
Recently, state health department officials had admitted that there was an acute shortage of gynaecologists, paediatricians and other specialists across government health centres. There are 360 rural hospitals and 58 sub-district hospitals, which have 50 beds each, and another 26 sub-district hospitals that have 100 beds each. There are four 200-bed general hospitals, 23 district hospitals and 12 women’s hospitals.
Annually, as many as 2.61 lakh deliveries are registered in Pune circle, and 1.78 lakh deliveries are performed in Pune, in areas under the Pune Municipal Corporation, Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation and Pune rural areas.
Deshmukh admitted that in Pune rural areas, of 72,000 deliveries, only 30,000 are performed at government-run centres. “We want to encourage more deliveries at our centres and hence the pilot project has been initiated at Saswad and Junnar,” said Deshmukh.
“The initiative was launched on October 24 and within a fortnight, as many as 150 deliveries had been performed. 63 of them C-Sections,” he said. A panel of two gynaecologists, two radiologists and two anaesthetists has also been set up for the rural hospitals at Junnar and Saswad. Plans are now underway to extend this project to Baramati, Bhor, Daund and Indapur.