Initiative to improve rural maternal healthcare services

To improve rural maternal healthcare services in the country, Karuna Trust and the Asian Research and Training Institute for Skill Transfer (ARTIST), through a public-private partnership (PPP) with the State government will adopt and manage the 72 non-functional first referral units (FRU) in the State.

According to a press release, ARTIST is running a pilot PPP model with National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) at Santhemarahalli in Chamarajanagar district. Started in 2007, the FRU scaled to 150 deliveries by the third month from 50 deliveries a month.

“With this FRU handling over 200 deliveries a month, the same PPP model has now been extended to a Raichur FRU. In the coming months, ARTIST will manage FRUs in Gulbarga, Bagalkot and Bidar districts where maternal healthcare services delivery in rural areas is very poor,” the release said. While the Karuna Trust is responsible for identifying medical professionals for each FRU, ARTIST will be the technical partner. ARTIST will undertake capacity building of the staff, monitor the services, provide technical support and operate a dedicated helpline to be set up for the purpose. The Karuna Trust will deploy medical and paramedical staff at the FRUs through an arrangement with medical colleges and its own training institutes.

Following the partnership, women will get access to overall maternal healthcare services at FRUs. Services such as screening, scanning, laboratory tests, and supply of medicines to patients apart from facilities to encourage more institutional deliveries will be available. Each FRU will have four staff nurses, two health workers, two ward boys, a doctor, a postgraduate doctor and an ambulance, the release added.

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