Pregnant women 'forced' by health centres to take photocopies as MCP cards run out of stock in TN
Pregnant women approaching the 29 PHCs and 95 sub-health centres, a majority of which assist them with check-ups and even perform their deliveries, are issued the MCP card.
PERAMBALUR: The Mother and Child Protection (MCP) Card, which the government regards as “the first contact point between a pregnant woman and the health system”, having run out of stock across the state about six months ago has raised complaints of those pregnant women and new mothers visiting the primary health centres (PHCs) and sub-health centres in the district being forced to take photocopies of at least a part of the 40-page document so as to have vital information on their routine check-ups recorded.
Pregnant women approaching the 29 PHCs and 95 sub-health centres, a majority of which assist them with check-ups and even perform their deliveries, are issued the MCP card. The card, which records details of their check-up, delivery and child care, also carries information on postnatal and postpartum care, vaccination schedule for babies, among others, to help women improve awareness.
The card, however, has been out of stock for the past six months, health officials pointed out. This has led to staff at the health centres forcing visitors to take a photocopy of the MCP card from nearby private shops, complain pregnant women.
They also complain that only the part of the document, running to about 20 pages, that records patients’ visits is being issued to take a photocopy of. R Madhu, a pregnant woman from Maruvathur who said she is in possession of only such a photocopy, said, "It costs more to get the photocopies of the card. The shops double the rate when there is power outage.” Complaining of the information pregnant women miss out on by having access to only a part the MCP card, she said, “We do not even know what to do if excessive bleeding and other problems occur during pregnancy." M Manavalan, husband of a pregnant woman from Puduvettakudi, said, "My wife has been undergoing pregnancy check-up at Thungapuram PHC for the past six months.
We miss out on vital information about pregnancy as they force us to take copies of only a few pages. If we have any problem or emergency, we can address them only by heading to the health centre. Not everyone is aware of what should be taken care of during pregnancy." When contacted, Deputy Director of Health Services M Senthilkumar told TNIE, "The MCP card has been out of stock for six months across the state, including Perambalur. It will be replenished soon."