In a span of merely three months, the upgraded Primary Health Centre at Nandivaram, about 35 km from Chennai, has increased the number of deliveries per month from 84 to 202. For any PHC, a three-digit figure for deliveries is considered very good performance, says K. Kolandaisamy, Director of Public Health. Further, an increase from a two-digit figure within such a short period is commendable, public health experts add.
The achievements have come only after dedicated efforts were launched to substantially improve the reproductive child health component, S. Rajasekaran, Deputy Director of Health Services, explains. “There are four key components to this: improving the infrastructure, improving hygiene and sanitation, improving the attitude of PHC staff, and spreading awareness about the facilities.”
“Every month, before the expected date of delivery of each pregnant woman, we have made it a habit to provide them a check-up, to identify if there is a high risk, or a possibility of Caesarean. Then, we tell the woman that the facility is available at the Centre itself and that she can come there for the surgery. In addition to motivating patients, we have also encouraged our hospital staff and Village Health Nurses to keep the premises clean and treat patients courteously,” said Dr. Rajasekaran. MLA funds were mobilised to provide beds, 10 more than the sanctioned strength.
“This kind of achievement is certainly possible. The thing to remember is that there is a service gap in that particular area,” Dr. Kolandaisamy explains. Patients have to go to the main district headquarters hospital, or head to Chennai. If the facility is available at the PHC, they will prefer that over going a long distance for deliveries. “Families usually prefer a smaller centre where they are familiar with the staff for deliveries. They feel lost in a larger set up,” he says.
The bulk of the patients must have been drawn from the private sector or from the Government referral centres, doctors say.