BENGALURU: Four days ago, Surekha Deepak was forced to give birth on the road outside Aurad Taluk hospital in Bidar district. What happened in the northern tip of the state can happen in the state capital with only one Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) available to track the maternal health of 30,000 population. The ideal ratio is 1:10,000.
About 155 ANM posts are vacant in Bengaluru. According to Union Health Ministry’s guidelines, ANMs should register every pregnancy within 12 weeks and track the pregnant women by name for provision of quality antenatal care, skilled birth attendance and postnatal services. They should ensure four antenatal (ANC) visits, give them two doses of tetanus and iron folic acid supplements. They should also test the blood for haemoglobin, urine for sugar, blood pressure, check protein and weight at every visit.
Every pregnant woman in the state is entitled to these services free of cost. According to National Family Health Survey-4, an average out-of-pocket expenditure in Bengaluru per delivery in a public health facility is `7,995.
Surekha had no reports of ANC or immunisation with her, which are crucial. In 2015-16, only 1.21 lakh women in the city were registered within the first trimester for ANC, of 2.45 lakh total registered pregnant women. Only 1.56 lakh women were given first dose of TT injection and 1.55 lakh given second TT dose.
About 1.6 lakh pregnant women were diagnosed anaemic (haemoglobin less than 11) in 2015-16. These are among the tested cases.
Dr Savitha, Reproductive And Child Health Officer, BBMP, who is in charge of PHCs in 135 wards said, “We just have one ANM per 30,000 population. Each PHC should cater to no more than 50,000. We cater to 80,000. The number of pregnant women registered in the first trimester will be low. And so will those who have been given TT and iron tablets. An ANM is paid `9,000, which is dismally low for the amount of tracking that she is required to do,” she added.