Food for pregnant women at PHCs

At the 19 PHCs across Medak district, food is served on Mondays and Fridays when anti-natal clinics are conducted.

At the 19 PHCs across Medak district, food is served on Mondays and Fridays when anti-natal clinics are conducted.  

Pregnant women visiting primary health centres (PHCs) for antenatal check-ups are provided lunch in Medak district for the past one month.

It is an initiative of the district Collector Bharathi Hollikeri without any additional financial burden as the food was brought from local Anganwadi centres where it is served to pregnant and lactating women on all days of the week. At the 19 PHCs across the district, however, food is served only on Mondays and Fridays when the antenatal clinics are conducted.

Though the project had caught up well with the women, the State Government appeared to have reservations on it because patient care, which is core to PHCs, might be sidetracked if they indulged in something which was not their mandate and the personnel were thrust with an additional responsibility.

Also, outside food was not served anywhere in government-run institutions. Supply of safe nutrition to pregnant women required in-house kitchens which was not feasible at PHCs.

The idea of serving food at PHCs was conceived by the Collector as it was seen that the pregnant women often missed lunch because they returned home late since the check-ups and investigations at the clinics were time consuming. The women were too tired to cook food after returning, said the District Medical and Health Officer B. Venkateswara Rao.

Rice, pulse slurry, vegetables, milk and eggs which was provided at Anganwadi centres was made available at PHCs also.

As the project was catching up with women, Mr. Rao said the Collector will be requested to sanction a shed for all PHCs to facilitate women to sit and consume food. Now, they were made to sit in the verandahs or any other available space in the PHCs.

The government was disinclined to replicate the project in other districts because it was not only pregnant women but men, older women, children and infirm who visited PHCs. If the pregnant women alone were served food and others deprived, it would lead to heartburn in a section of people and vitiate atmosphere in villages. But, Dr. Rao said there were no complaints of the nature so far in Medak.

Women and Child Welfare secretary M. Jagadeeshwar said the Medak experiment would be studied for a couple of months.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2020 6:15:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/food-for-pregnant-women-at-phcs/article21250963.ece

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