Dehradun, 13.02.18: In 2011, the Centre had started the Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) under which a pregnant woman was entitled to free delivery at government hospitals across India. But a state-wise breakup of delivery costs according to the Niti Ayog’s ‘Healthy States Progressive India Report’ says that delivery at government hospitals continues to cost the poor a lot of money.
Manipur tops this list, with Rs 10,076 being required to deliver a child at a government hospital. This is followed by Delhi, at Rs 8719. Dinesh Arora, director (health), Niti Aayog, said, “Our analysis of out of pocket expenditure for various states is based on the National Family Health Survey-4 data, which was released in 2015-16. We are sure that in the last two years things have improved significantly.”
In West Bengal, the cost, according to the report, is Rs 7,782; Kerala Rs 6,901, and Arunachal Pradesh Rs 6,474. In contrast, in Dadra and Nagar Haveli a family had to spend just Rs 471. Taking note of the fact that the Centre had been spending crores on improving maternal and child care in India, authors of the report have asked the states to buck up.
The report read: “Given the number of National Health Mission (NHM) interventions targeting pregnant women, such as Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK), and Referral Transport to ensure free delivery at public health facilities, the states should aim to reduce the OOP expenditure.”
Though the reason behind higher cost of delivery at government facilities in the north-east has largely been attributed to geographically challenging terrain and unavailability of trained staff, Delhi, Mahasthra and Karnataka’s charges have left many wondering.
Sharing the reasons behind increased delivery costs in “richer” states, Uttarakhand family and health welfare society director general Dr Archana Srivastava said, “Round-the-clock availability of drugs, diagnostics and transport facilities play a major role in determining OOP expenditure.”
Courtesy: Shivani Azad, The Times of India