Age limit relaxed for financial assistance to institutional deliveries #Goodnews


AARTI DHAR, The Hindu

Move expected to reduce neonatal, maternal mortality in young mothers

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has relaxed eligibility parameters for the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), which provides financial assistance to mothers for institutional deliveries. Now, Below Party Line (BPL) women can access JSY benefits irrespective of their age and number of children.

All women from BPL category, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in all States and Union Territories will be eligible for JSY benefits if they have given birth in a government or private accredited health facility. BPL women who prefer to deliver at home can also get JSY benefits.

Launched in 2005, the JSY is the government’s main scheme to enable women — especially those from vulnerable sections — to access institutional delivery. This was done to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality.

“The decision was taken after it was realised that a majority of women, who needed JSY benefits, remained out of the purview of the scheme because they had to prove they were 19 years of age and had no more than two children,” Anuradha Gupta, Additional Secretary and Mission Director, National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), told The Hindu on Tuesday.

The highest maternal mortality is reported among girls aged 14-15; the majority of these were out of the purview of the JSY as they were unable to produce proof of age or verify the number of children they had, Ms. Gupta explained.

Till now, the scheme provided assistance for institutional delivery to all pregnant women who give birth in a government or private accredited health facility in Low Performing States (those with bad health indicators, such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Assam). A woman gets Rs.1,400 for delivery in a government facility or accredited private facility and Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) gets Rs. 600 in rural areas. In the urban areas, the amounts paid are Rs.1,000 and Rs. 400 respectively.

However, in High Performing States (those with good health indices, such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka), assistance for institutional delivery was available to women from BPL/SC/ST households, aged 19 or above and only up to two live births for delivery in a government or private accredited health facility. The financial entitlement was Rs. 700 to the mother and Rs. 600 for the ASHA in rural areas and Rs. 600 and Rs. 400 in urban settings.

Further, in all States/Union Territories, the scheme provided Rs. 500 to BPL women — aged 19 or above and who deliver up to two live births — who prefer to deliver at home. With the amendments, all women who deliver at home will be entitled to this amount, basically for nutrition.

The government claims that as a result of the scheme, there has been an increase in institutional deliveries — from 47 per cent in 2007-08 to 72.9 per cent in 2009 (Coverage Evaluation Survey) and, most recently, to approximately 79 per cent — as per Health Ministry data.

 


  • Henceforth, all BPL women will get JSY benefits
  • Many were excluded for being under 19

 

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