Haryana government tries to rectify its alarming sex-ratio statistics which are worst among all States

A long-neglected subject in the State, the Haryana government has finally woken up to address the critical issue of healthcare for women and children, besides taking steps to tackle the skewed sex ratio in the State that has recorded the worst sex-ratio among all other States.

Statistics show that from 2005 to 2012, the number of girls for every 1,000 boys have been 823, 857, 860, 854, 853, 838 and 877 respectively. The health authorities are also focusing on the health of women and children, somewhat neglected in the past, with a fresh slew of measures.

It has instituted the ‘Surakshit Maa Awards’ (safe motherhood awards) to increase awareness about pre-natal healthcare for pregnant women and to promote early ante-natal registration in four districts with poor indicators — Mewat, Palwal, Jhajjar and Bhiwani,

Mothers who report for ante-natal registration at the sub-centres in the first trimester are eligible for the awards. Three winners, who will be selected through a lucky draw, will get a prize worth Rs. 300 as well as utility items like utensils or food items like one kg of desi ghee.

“We are taking stringent steps to check female foeticide, besides generating social awareness,” said the State’s Health Minister Narender Singh, adding: “Birth registration by the health centres has increased from 78.9 per cent to 95 per cent.”

The Janani-Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK) was launched in Haryana in April 2008 under which financial assistance of Rs. 1,500 is given to a woman belonging to the Scheduled Castes who delivers a baby in the hospital. About 1,02,963 women have benefited from the scheme till March 31 this year, according to a senior Health Department official. Institutional deliveries in the State is claimed to have increased from 43.3 per cent in 2005 to 78.6 per cent till April 2012.

Under JSSK, pregnant women are entitled to free delivery, free caesarean section operation, free drugs and consumables besides free diagnostics.

The Centre’s Janani Suraksha Yojana gives cash assistance of Rs. 700 to rural women living below poverty line (BPL) for institutional delivery and Rs. 600 to urban women for the same.

“What is unique is that we set up 469 delivery huts in the rural areas to provide safe and better delivery facilities to the rural women and more than 1.75 lakh deliveries have already taken place,’’ Dr. Rakesh Gupta, managing director (Haryana), National Rural Health Mission, said.

Another initiative has been the launch of free ambulatory services for pregnant women, BPL and emergency patients. The fleet of 335 ambulances is fitted with GPS and easily accessible by dialling a toll free number. Also, 17 Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances have been pressed into service. In addition to this, nearly 14,000 Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) have been hired on honorarium basis.

Doctors, however, are concerned over the large number of anaemic pregnant women who undergo delivery. This, they claimed, is causing infant mortality despite best efforts. To check the problem, reverse tracking of such pregnant women coming to district hospitals is done.