The number of deliveries in private and government hospitals in Delhi has increased by 14% in the last five years, the directorate of family welfare (DFW) has stated in response to an RTI.
RTI data also reveals that the number of babies delivered in government hospitals is significantly higher than those delivered in private hospitals.
As per the data, 1,91,694 deliveries were conducted at government institutions in 2013-2014, and the number increased to 2,20,321 in 2017-2018. At private hospitals, 34,638 deliveries took place in 2013-2014, and 39,796 in 2017-2018.
“The trend is welcoming and the government should continue with its maternal health programs,” said RTI activist Rajhans Bansal, who filed the petition.
Experts attributed the trend to various government initiatives planned to reduce maternal and infant mortality rate. Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), a safe motherhood intervention under the National Rural Health Mission (NHM), is being implemented with the objective of reducing maternal and infant mortality by promoting institutional delivery among pregnant women.
The scheme is under implementation in all states and Union Territories, with a special focus on Low Performing States (LPS).
“People have more confidence in government institutions now…Though there are still many women who are unaware and do not come to hospitals, but in last few years, the number of those visiting hospitals has increased,” said Dr Alka Kriplani, head of gynaecology department at AIIMS.
The scheme also provides performance-based incentives to women health volunteers known as ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activists) for promoting institutional deliveries among pregnant women.
Under this initiative, eligible pregnant women are entitled to get JSY benefit of Rs 600 (in rural areas) and Rs 400 (in urban areas) directly into their bank accounts. “Earlier, people thought that only high-risk pregnancies needed a visit to the hospital. Now they realise that there is nothing called ‘high’ or ‘low’ risk pregnancy. The JSY scheme has encouraged many women who were not able to reach hospitals due to a financial crisis,” said Dr Suneeta Mittal, director and head of department, obstetrics and gynaecology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI), Gurgaon.