New campaign is saving women’s lives in Bikaner, Rajasthan

Awareness campaign for pregnant women and adolescent girls has reduced the number of maternal deaths in the district from 70 last year to 32 this year and resulted in 63.86% of women receiving antenatal care

Awareness campaign for pregnant women and adolescent girls has reduced the number of maternal deaths in the district from 70 last year to 32 this year and resulted in 63.86% of women receiving antenatal care

An innovative campaign launched in April in Bikaner, Rajasthan, to educate pregnant and lactating women and adolescent girls on maternal and child health, has reduced the number of maternal deaths in the district from 70 last year to 32 this year.

According to the district administration, the Pukaar (proclamation) campaign enabled government officials to exchange information on institutional deliveries, nutrition during pregnancy, necessary tests and vaccinations with more than 2.34 lakh women and 92,300 adolescent girls. The initiative has resulted in a drop in the maternal mortality rate, a cure for anemia, an increase in institutional deliveries and better levels of immunization and nutrition among children in the district.

More than 10,000 workshops

Bikaner Collector Bhagwati Prasad Kalal said The Hindu that so far more than 10,300 ‘Pukaar Pathshalas’ have been held every Wednesday in every village panchayat and municipal ward in the district to educate women on precautions to take from conception until a child has two year. The initiative has started to take the form of a grassroots movement with direct communication established with women at meetings, he said.

No additional expense is incurred for the meetings, which witness the participation of anganwadi workers and sathins (village workers of the State Women’s Development Programme).

Positive results

“We have succeeded in saving the lives of women through our continuous efforts. Our anemia management program has seen improvement, with the number of women with 8-9 grams of hemoglobin increasing from 39.75% last year to 24.27% this year,” Mr. Kalal said.

Thanks to the campaign, institutional deliveries have increased from 74.44% last year to 76.98% this year and the number of children receiving full vaccination has increased to 86.65% this year, a- he declared. For the first time, 63.86% of women benefited from prenatal consultations.

At the meetings, which are held near the homes of pregnant and lactating women depending on the space available, women give their opinions on various issues and representatives of the departments of health and of the development of women and children provide advice on holistic care for women and children. .

Mr. Kalal said that participants also benefited from information on programs related to women’s empowerment. The campaign was helpful in explaining the concept of early childhood development to local communities. He emphasized protecting children’s right to develop their full cognitive, emotional, social and physical potential, the Collector said.

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