Targeted campaign to get expectant mothers to use ambulance

In a span of six months, until September, the number of expectant mothers who have utilised the services of ‘108’ ambulances in the city has increased from 268 to 455.

Officials attribute the increase to a targeted approach involving campaigns to promote ambulance use among ante-natal mothers. The aim is to reduce maternal and infant mortality.

The 108 ambulance — a project initiated by Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project (TNHSP) and operated by a private partner, GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) — is focussing on expectant mothers, particularly high-risk women.

Nurses help to spread the word

In Chennai, this initiative is being taken forward through the family welfare department of the Chennai Corporation.

“Our staff visits the Chennai Corporation’s maternity centres and provides information on the 108 ambulance to ante-natal mothers and medical staff,” says M. Mohammed Bilal, district manager of 108 ambulance (Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur).

“In districts such as Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur, we visit primary health centres to meet expectant mothers. We also tell auxiliary nurse midwives and village health nurses to inform the mothers about the 108 service during labour,” says Mr. Bilal.

Keeping track of delivery dates

Mr. Bilal says they keep track of the expected date of delivery for ante-natal mothers. “We get data about ante-natal mothers from TNHSP. Details, including contact information of the expectant mothers, are available. We contact the family and ask them to call us when the pregnant woman goes into labour,” he says.

B. Prabhudoss, regional manager of GVK-EMRI, says it is advisable that pregnant women use ambulances when in labour as it is safe for the mother and child.

“The woman will be taken to the hospital of her choice,” he says.

Recently, TNHSP has initiated efforts to cover high-risk pregnant women — those with blood pressure and diabetes.

“In such cases, we get the list of ante-natal mothers with perceived high risk from the health departments in the respective districts,” says Mr. Prabhudoss.

The women are then contacted and asked to utilise the 108 ambulance whenever required and not wait until they go into labour. “We call at least 1,000 high-risk pregnant women a day, across the State,” says Mr. Prabhudoss.

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