BHUBANESWAR: Realising the inadequacies of 102 and 108 ambulance services in referral transportation of pregnant women in tribal and remote pockets of the State, the Health Department has decided to provide additional monetary support to the beneficiaries.
With a spate of deliveries on way to health centres reported in last few months, the Department has decided to address the problem by providing reimbursement of transportation costs - in two slabs of Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,000 - to pregnant women basing on the distance from a delivery point.
Beneficiaries coming from non-difficult villages will get Rs 1,000 while those from difficult villages will be entitled to Rs 2,000. Only those villages which are beyond five km from the nearest delivery point would be eligible for the scheme.
Aimed at improving institutional delivery and overcoming hurdles associated with ambulance services, the scheme will reimburse only transportation cost from home to the facility at community health centre level or as recommended by the ANM.
The Health Department felt that referral transportation of pregnant women for institutional delivery is not encouraging notwithstanding the 102/108 ambulance services because of mobile connectivity issues, high percentage of inter-facility transfer, inadequate number of ambulances as well as the difficult terrains.
To overcome the issues, National Health Mission had proposed additional monetary support in form of reimbursement of transportation costs. While approving the scheme, the Health Department recommended that budget requirement for the scheme would not be proposed separately and adjusted from within the existing IMR/MMR budget by relocating funds meant for referral transport.
Similarly, it was also decided not to hire vehicles in 68 identified difficult blocks for strengthening referral transportation services since it would amount to duplication of the scheme. The special fund will be implemented across the State and not just 15 IMR/MMR strategy districts as was being planned earlier.
While the block will be taken as unit of implementation, beneficiaries will be reimbursed the cost through DBT. They have to submit self-certification validated by the ASHA that 102 or 108 ambulances or other Government vehicles have not been used. Janani Surakshya Yojana documents will have to be furnished for the purpose too.