J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare expressed heartfelt gratitude to the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for his un-daunting support to the Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA), as the programme crossed one crore mark in antenatal check-ups. The Union Health Minister stated that Hon’ble Prime Minister of India had envisioned that 9th of every month, symbolizing the 9 months of pregnancy, should be dedicated to pregnant women. The PMSMA programme was launched in 2016 to fulfil his vision and ensure comprehensive and quality antenatal checkups to pregnant women across India. “More than one crore antenatal check-ups have been conducted under the ambitious Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA), which has provided quality antenatal checkups to pregnant women on the 9th of every month. Now safe pregnancy has become a social movement in our country,” Nadda added.
Expressing satisfaction, Nadda further stated that that the programme has been successful in reaching out to the difficult and remote areas of India, since out of the 1 crore checkups across the country, more than 25 lakh check-ups were conducted in high priority districts identified by the Health Ministry for focussed attention. “While all States/ UTs have made significant efforts to reach out to pregnant women, Maharashtra has reported the largest number of check-ups among the Non-Empowered Action Group (EAG) States and Rajasthan has reported the largest number of check-ups among the Empowered Action Group States. All pregnant women visiting the PMSMA sites are examined by an obstetrician/ physician and appropriately investigated,” Nadda elaborated.
J.P Nadda also expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all doctors from the public and private sectors, for responding to the call of Prime Minister and making this remarkable milestone possible. He also urged all the doctors to continue their commitment, ‘IPledgefor9’ and boost the chance of further reducing maternal and infant mortality in the country.
It may be noted, that in the 31st July 2016 episode of Mann Ki Baat, Prime Minister had urged private sector doctors to dedicate 12 days in a year to this programme and provide voluntary services under PMSMA on the 9th of every month. There are more than 12,800 government health facilities across States/ UTs where PMSMA sessions are conducted on the 9th of every month and pregnant women receive fixed-day assured, comprehensive and quality antenatal care in their second and third trimesters. More than 4,800 private sector doctors have pledged to provide voluntary service under PMSMA. More than 385 private sector volunteers have provided services in the high priority districts such as Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh. Several of these volunteers have provided free services at nearby government health facilities more than 10 times in the past months.
There are several instances where private sector doctors have gone beyond the expectations to serve in remote areas. For example, Dr Pooja Upadhyay, a well-known gynecologist of Raipur turned down the travel support offered by the government and, instead, travelled all the way to Narayanpur, a remote left-wing affected district at her own expense to provide services under PMSMA.
Comprehensive and quality ANC, and identification and follow-up of high risk pregnancies are critical components of the Abhiyan. In order to enable early detection of high risk pregnancies, 84 lakh haemoglobin tests, 55 lakh HIV tests, 41 lakh tests for gestational diabetes, 33 lakh tests for syphilis and more than 15 lakh ultrasounds have been conducted under the programme based on the individual requirements of pregnant women. Based on the clinical conditions and investigations, over 5.50 lakh pregnant women were identified as high risk pregnancies and referred to a specialist or a higher health facility for appropriate care. Identifying high risk pregnancies is the first step towards saving mothers and infants from preventable deaths.
“India is committed to reducing preventable maternal deaths through concerted efforts and public –private partnership. The PMSMA has reached one crore mark with the commitment from doctors in the government sector across States/ UTs and with the help of the large number of private sector doctors who have voluntarily pledged for this initiative,” Nadda stated.