The Health Department will soon put in place a system to track the individual health status of pregnant women and children, to ensure that every woman receives proper ante-natal and pre-natal care and that no child drops out of the immunisation programme.

The Name-based Tracking System (NBTS), proposed by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), envisages capturing the individual data of pregnant women and children in specific formats at the sub-centre level. A unique identity number will be generated for every woman and child.

The data captured on paper at the sub-centre-level will be put into a digital format at the block-level for compilation into district data. The data would be uploaded to the Health Management Information System (HMIS) portal of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

The Health Department has decided to utilise the services of the 31,489 Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) deployed across the State to collect this data from every household.

“The MoHFW has proposed that all vital data of pregnant women — the details of ante-natal visits, including the immunisation shots, iron and folic acid tablets received, anaemia status and any illnesses, institutional or home delivery, normal or caesarean birth and post-natal care received — be collected. In the case of children too, the system will collect data on the immunisation status, congenital illnesses, if any, developmental milestones, etc. This line-listing and tracking of women and children will generate valuable data for policy-makers to help us track the maternal and child health status and evolve suitable programmes,” a senior Health official told The Hindu.

Apart from taking stock of maternal and child health, the NBTS will help authorities have a better idea about the requirement of vaccines or medicines. The regular follow-up will ensure that the health workers are more alert and accountable too. The MoHFW has directed that the data on all new pregnancies detected/registered and all births occurring from December 1, 2009 should be collected.

Health register

In preparation for launching the NBTS, the Health Department has now re-designed the field diary and registers maintained by ASHAs.

ASHAs will now carry with them a family health register in which all relevant details about the household and its members will be recorded. They will also have a field diary in which the work done by them on a daily basis — source reduction, accompanying a pregnant woman to the ante-natal clinic, etc., — will have to be recorded and signed by a Junior Public Health Nurse. ASHAs will also maintain a separate register for collecting data on pregnant women and children.