NEW DELHI: The Centre has asked states to arrange for home delivery of folic acid, calcium and zinc tablets, oral dehydration solution sachets and contraceptives in containment zones to plug the loopholes in mother and child healthcare services, badly disrupted due to the lockdown.
In its ''Guidance note on provision of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent Health Plus Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) services during and post COVID-19 pandemic'' released on Wednesday, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare also stressed that critical services for women, children and adolescents should be provided irrespective of their COVID-19 status.
"Under no circumstances should there be a denial of essential services," it highlighted.
"Home deliveries of essential medicines like IFA, calcium, ORS, zinc, contraceptives etc. can be organized in containment zones," said the guidelines
Campaign mode services like mass vitamin A prophylaxis, Intensified Diarrhea Control Fortnight, National Deworming Day and Test Treat and Talk camps for Anemia can be organised through alternative mechanisms like home delivery of essential services and commodities based on the local situation, the Centre has suggested.
In India, with the world's second largest population, the growing coronavirus outbreak requires that special efforts have to be made to continue the essential routine RMNCAH+N services, said the guidance note to states.
“With more than 2.5 crore pregnancies each year in the country, it is important to ensure the availability of services during this period as any denial of services can have an impact on maternal and newborn mortalities, morbidities as well as health care costs,” the health ministry said.
According to the guidelines, community based activities should have limited participation (5-10) at a time and the procedure site and all equipment should be sanitized properly before and after the clinics or sessions.
All COVID-19 suspects and positive cases should preferably be provided services at dedicated facilities, the guidelines also said
"COVID-19 testing is not mandatory for RMNCAH+N service. ICMR testing guidelines need to be followed," it said, while underlining that tele-consultation services should be promoted at all levels to prevent overcrowding and reduce cross infection.
The ministry highlight that as far as immunization services are concerned, birth dose vaccination should be continued at all health facilities as the beneficiaries are already in the facility.
In other cases, providing vaccination doses will only be allowed outside the containment and buffer zones and in green zones.
An area enlisted as a containment or buffer zone should stop health facility-based sessions and outreach sessions, but if a beneficiary walks into a health facility to get their child vaccinated, they should not be turned away, the Centre also said.