Making childbirth a memorable experience where the mother is respected and cared for is on top of the checklist of both government and private maternity nursing homes. ‘Respectful Maternity Care’ (RMC), especially post delivery, is one of the key features of ‘LaQshya’ (Labour room Quality improvement Initiative), which aims to reduce preventable maternal and newborn mortality.
The Centre had launched ‘LaQshya’ in December 2017 to improve quality of care in labour room and maternity operation theatres in public health facilities across the country. In a first, the initiative has laid emphasis on the rights of childbearing women in seeking and receiving maternity care.
Maharashtra has the second lowest maternity mortality ratio, only behind Kerala. Last month, a new report showed the MMR falling from 65 to 55 per lakh live births. It is estimated that approximately 46 per cent maternal deaths, over 40 per cent stillbirths and 40 per cent newborn deaths take place on the day of delivery. The Maharashtra Vision Document aims to reduce maternal mortality ratio to 30 per lakh live births by 2020. According to the vision document, the aim is to reduce neo-natal mortality to “single digit” and still birth rate to 6 per 1,000 live births by 2020.
Strategies such as improving infrastructure upgradation, ensuring availability of essential equipment, providing adequate human resources, capacity building of healthcare workers and improving quality processes in the labour room are part of the initiative. “This is a multipronged approach focused at intrapartum and immediate postpartum period,” state Director of Health Dr Archana Patil told The Indian Express.
“Among our key objectives is to enhance satisfaction of beneficiaries visiting the health facilities and provide respectful maternity care to all pregnant women attending the public health facilities,” Patil said.
Annually, there are 20 lakh deliveries in the state, of which 11 lakh are managed by the government sector. As part of RMC, they will be counselled and advised that no one could humiliate or verbally abuse them. The women are given a chart that indicate their respective rights for child and maternity care.
Patil said the programme will improve quality of care for pregnant women in the labour room, maternity operation theatre and obstetrics intensive care units (ICUs) and High Dependency Units (HDUs). While medical college hospitals, district hospitals, rural hospitals and sub-district hospitals are expected to implement the initiative, the state health department will also rope in private maternity homes under the scheme.
The quality improvement in labour room and maternity OT will also be assessed through National Quality Assurance Standards (NQAS) and in Maharashtra, a total of 123 facilities were included in 2018-19. Shridhar Pandit, state programme officer, Maternal Health, said that in Maharashtra, a total of 42 facilities are national ‘LaQshya’ certified.
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