Monetary Package Is Saving Lives in India

By Jennifer Uloma Igwe | February 20, 2013 | India

Women in India who go to hospitals for their deliveries receive monetary incentives. This attractive package is also extended to accredited social workers who are able to get expectant mothers to go to the hospitals.

According to Dr. Armida Fernandes, former Professor and Head of Neonatology at Lokmanaya Tilak Municipal General Hospital, the initiative has increased the number of women who now use hospital services from about 43 to 73 percent. Considering the fact that maternal and newborn mortality in India is not so remarkable, this is indeed progress.

The country, just like Nigeria, is in the category of nations rated low in that area by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Most poor women in these countries prefer unhygienic local birth attendants and private unaccredited services. That is not to say all traditional birth attendants are bad, but most of them have limited knowledge on how to deal with complications. Excessive bleeding, infections, poor hygiene, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition are some of highest killers of Indian mothers and children, according to medical experts like Dr. Fernandes. The former professor is also the founder-trustee of the Society for Nutrition, Education, and Health Action (SNEHA), a Mumbai-based nonprofit investing in women's health in order to build viable urban communities.

Jennifer Uloma Igwe is a principal reporter, newscaster presenter and producer with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). She is traveling to India in 2013 with the International Reporting Project.

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