Health workers visit new mothers, pregnant women at doorsteps with servicesThe programme kicked off on January 3 and aims to cover the nooks and crannies of one of the largest local units in the country in terms of area coverage.
In an effort to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates in the local unit, Arghakhanchi’s Sitganga Municipality has initiated free door-to-door medical check-ups for pregnant women
The programme kicked off on January 3 and aims to cover the nooks and crannies of one of the largest local units in the country in terms of area coverage.
“Some of the wards of the municipality are located in geographically remote areas and not all wards are connected to road networks,” said Gita Bhat, deputy mayor of the municipality. “Most women are deprived of medical care because there are no proper health services in the villages.”
One of the beneficiaries of the service, Saraswati Poudel of Suwarnakhal in ward 1, is eight months pregnant. Health workers accompanied by the people’s representatives of her ward showed up at her door last week.
“I was surprised and very happy to see them. They ran tests and did an ultrasound,” said Poudel. “The doctor advised me on the importance of a balanced diet, safe pregnancy procedures, safe childbirth, and how to take care of the baby after delivery. This is my first experience receiving health services at home.”
Earlier, she visited Butwal once and the local health post four times for a health check-up during pregnancy. According to her, most women from her village do not go to the hospital for health examinations due to poverty.
“I have spent so much money on tests, checkups, and consultants so far,” she said. “So this service has come as a relief to me and other women in the village.”
A health team from Thada Primary Health Centre in ward 3 of the municipality comprising Dr Suvekcha Sharma, nurse Sirjana Ghimire, and health workers Damodar Dhakal and Laxman Pandey have been visiting the villages gathering information on pregnant women and providing them with medical services.
There are 14 wards in the municipality, and so far the team has examined 14 pregnant women in ward 1; 23 in ward 2; 11 in ward 4; 13 in ward 5; 27 in ward 6; 17 in ward 7; 13 in ward 8; 11 in ward 9; and 18 in ward 10.
“We check the health of the pregnant women and the fetus, and give advice on nutrition and conduct a video x-ray,” said Ghimire. “We will follow up with them every three months. Before this programme was launched, pregnant women were obligated to go to Butwal for a health check-up from a specialist doctor.”
According to Ghimire, the health team has also briefed pregnant women on the importance of physical exercise during and after pregnancy and has asked them to avoid junk food.
“Women in poor financial condition cannot afford to visit the hospital for follow-up checkups, which increases the risk for both mother and child,” said Bhat, the deputy mayor. “The municipality has allocated a budget for this programme and plans to give continuity to it.”