Why in News?
SUMAN : Recently, Ministry for Health and Family Welfare highlighted importance of SUMAN
at the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) Accountability
• It is an initiative (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) for zero preventable
maternal and newborn deaths.
• Under the scheme, free healthcare benefits are provided to pregnant women, mothers up to 6 months after delivery, and all sick newborns.
• Other features of the scheme are
- Zero expense delivery and C-section facility in case of pregnancy complications.
- Free transport to pregnant women from home to health facility and back.
- Zero-tolerance for denial of services at public health facility.
• Services include at least four ante natal check-ups that also includes one checkup during the 1st trimester, Iron Folic Acid supplementation, Tetanus diphtheria injection etc.
• PMNCH is the world’s largest alliance for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health, bringing together over 1,000 partner organizations across 192 countries.
o It enables partners to share strategies, align objectives and resources, and agree on interventions.
The Vice Chairs of PMNCH’s Board are the Government of India and UK.
Speaking on the impact of COVID-19 in the area of maternal and child health, Dr. Harsh Vardhan observed, “The maximum impact has been felt by women, children and adolescents and this called for urgent action.”
He mentioned that at the national level, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had issued guidance to the States to ensure that women, children and adolescents continue to get all the healthcare services and that he had personally taken this up with the health ministers of all the States;
“We are in a constant dialogue to ensure that these services are made available to women, children and adolescents remain in focus despite the health systems being under severe strain due to COVID epidemic.”
The Minister spoke of the government’s stated policy of no denial for essential services, like-Reproductive Maternal Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH), Tuberculosis, chemotherapy, dialysis and healthcare of the elderly, irrespective of the COVID status, the free testing and treatment for COVID across government health facilities and the inclusion of COVID in the medical conditions covered under the Ayushman Bharat – PM JAY insurance package provided by the government, which caters to almost 500 million people from the weakest socio-economic strata.
He expressed satisfaction that these steps have helped in reducing reduce Out-of-Pocket-Expenditure of those affected Dr. Harsh Vardhan while addressing a question on a women’s choice during maternal care reckoned that maternity care goes much beyond healthcare services for the mothers but sets into motion a lived reality of the woman who depends on a responsive system to cater to her needs of not only services but also dignity, privacy, confidentiality, choice and respect for her as well as her baby; “It is not just about a provider or a client, it’s about human dignity”.
Elaborating on the idea, he said “From instilling a behavioral change to help more women deliver in hospitals to entitlement for absolutely free services, we have come a long way now in providing quality care throughout pregnancy and childbirth with interventions like LaQshya and midwifery care.”
He further informed that last year, he had himself started “Safe Motherhood Assurance (SUMAN)” initiative that brings all these services under one umbrella. “We are now following a zero tolerance approach for service denial to pregnant women and their newborn babies and have also strengthened our system for client feedback, grievance redressal and greater accountability and transparency.
The idea is to have a fully responsive and accountable health system that will not only result in a positive birthing experience but also help end preventable maternal and newborn deaths,” he added.
The Minister detailed the Government’s plans to expand the notion of safe motherhood beyond mere prevention of mortality, “Women must be empowered to decide for themselves and therefore we have been trying to utilize multiple contact points throughout the antenatal and childbirth period to help women make informed decisions around safe motherhood practices, choice of birth companion, identifying referral transport and post-partum contraception.”
He mentioned that India is transitioning “towards a phase of moderate levels of maternal mortality and analyses have shown that many of the maternal deaths occur due to delay in timely provision of comprehensive obstetric care” which could have been prevented. He also added that he believed that with better quality of public healthcare facilities, regular caesarean section audits, adherence to SOPs in the labour room through structured interventions, India will be able to effectively address this issue.
Another important step towards universalization of skilled birth care, the Minister outlined, “is making available adequate number of nurse practitioners in India” He said that the Ministry has already prepared a detailed roadmap with an aim to provide midwifery services throughout the country.
The Minister impressed upon the idea to protect primary health care workers from the pandemic, “We have taken actions to create a safer work environment for our COVID warriors through uninterrupted supply of essential logistics, personal protective gear and also made provision of life insurance cover for the people dedicated to COVID and healthcare services.
We have also been carrying out a spirited campaign to celebrate the Corona warriors and address stigma and discrimination that has come to be associated with this disease. I would say that this is not a single department’s effort, it is actually a whole of government approach that is helping us deliver to the last mile.” Committing India to the PMNCH Call to Action, he reminded everyone present that India was one of the countries that was instrumental in shaping this PMNCH Call to Action.
“We reiterate our commitment to the women, children and adolescents of India and we will continuously direct our efforts towards improving their health and well-being.” He urged the wider PMNCH community to state and commit their support and resources towards this Call to Action and greater good: “Let’s ensure health for all and that no one is left behind.”
Aspirants can also know about, the Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) launched as a flagship maternity benefits programme of the Government of India.
What is Infant mortality Rate?
Infant mortality rate (IMR) is the number of deaths per 1,000 live births of children under one year of age. The rate for a given region is the number of children dying under one year of age, divided by the number of live births during the year, multiplied by 1,000
What is the Maternal Mortality Rate?
Maternal mortality refers to deaths due to complications from pregnancy or childbirth. The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) is defined as the number of maternal deaths during a given time period per 100,000 live births during the same time period. From 2000 to 2017, the global maternal mortality ratio declined by 38 per cent from 342 deaths to 211 deaths per 100,000 live births, according to UN inter-agency estimates. Know more on Maternal Mortality Rate in India on the given link.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare runs various programmes for the welfare of Pregnant Women and newborns, like-
PMSMA – Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan
LaQSHYA – Labour Room & Quality Improvement Initiative
JSSK – Janani-Shishu Suraksha Karyakram
JSY – Janani Suraksha Yojana
A few relevant government initiatives to promote affordable and quality health care services are as follows-
- National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMBSY) Ayushman Bharat Programme – PMJAY
- National Health Mission National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) National Health Assurance Mission (NHAM)
Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan – Objectives/SUMAN/
- The pregnant women will be able to avail a zero expense delivery and C-section facility in case of complications at public health facilities.
- The scheme will enable zero expense access to the identification and management of complications during and after the pregnancy.
- The scheme SUMAN will ensure that there is zero-tolerance for denial of services to such patients.
- The government will also provide free transport to pregnant women from home to the health facility and drop back after discharge (minimum 48 hrs).
- It will ensure respectful care with privacy and dignity, with early initiation and support for breastfeeding, zero dose vaccination and free and zero expense services for sick newborns and neonates./SUMAN/
Aim of SUMAN Scheme
The scheme Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan aims ‘assured, dignified and respectful delivery of quality healthcare services at no cost and zero tolerance for denial of services to any woman and newborn visiting a public health facility in order to end all preventable maternal and newborn deaths and morbidities and provide a positive birthing experience’.
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