Other States

‘Resume child, maternal care in Rajasthan’, say health activists

Activists warn of abnormal rise in mortalities

Health activists in Rajasthan on Friday called for the resumption of immunisation services for children and antenatal care for pregnant women, which had come to a standstill last month following the enforcement of COVID-19 lockdown.

The Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, which acts as the State chapter of the People’s Health Movement, said the suspension of these services would lead to an abnormal rise in maternal and child health-related morbidities and mortalities. Though the State had claimed that the services were being provided at health facilities, very few people had availed them during March and April.

In a memorandum submitted to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, the JSA said its analysis had revealed that more than 2.50 lakh pregnant women had missed antenatal care and more than 4 lakh children had been deprived of immunisation during the last month and a half. “This amounts to an infringement of the right to get life-saving essential health care services,” it said.

Chhaya Pachauli, director of voluntary group Prayas, said the State government should provide immunisation services and antenatal care by following social distancing norms and equipping frontline health workers with essential protective equipment in districts where no COVID-19 positive cases had been detected and which were out of the hotspot criterion.

“In all other districts, the government can adopt a door-to-door approach for delivering these services as well as nutritious meal distribution, taking extra care that the health workers are adequately trained and protected with the equipment,” Ms. Pachauli said.

The JSA demanded that the State government come out with the required guidelines and orders to resume the health services immediately. It said the people were finding it difficult to travel to health facilities and some were afraid to visit hospitals fearing virus infection.

Mr. Gehlot said on Friday that maternal and child health services were available at the welfare centres located at district headquarters, while the maternity services for pregnant women were being provided at all community health centres. Besides, an OPD van service launched earlier this week had also proved useful in giving medical consultation to pregnant women along with other patients.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 7:33:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/resume-child-maternal-care-in-rajasthan-say-health-activists/article31427395.ece

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