In Tamil Nadu, registration of pregnancies to become compulsory


Pushpa Narayan| TNN |

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Tamil Nadu is planning to make it mandatory for all pregnant women to register themselves with the health department
  • The registration will help the health department track the expectant mothers’ medical records
  • More than 60% of deliveries in Tamil Nadu happen in government hospitals

Representative imageRepresentative image

CHENNAI: If you are pregnant, you may soon have to break the news to the state government.

Tamil Nadu is planning to make it mandatory for all pregnant women to register themselves with the health department to ensure that the pregnancy and child birth happen safely. Those who don’t register pregnancy will not get to register the child birth, and hence not get a birth certificate for the child.

By July, when the scheme is launched, women will also be allowed to register by calling a dedicated non-emergency medical number, 102, or through any private hospital. “It’s an ambitious project that attempts to bring down maternal and infant mortality rates by keeping a tab on every pregnant woman in the state,” said health secretary J Radhakrishnan.

The registration will help the health department track the expectant mothers’ medical records, send reminders for doctor’s visits, and warn them about anaemia, diabetes and hypertension. For the past one year, a special platform called Pregnancy Infant Cohort Monitoring and Evaluations (PICME), is being tested in three districts of Tamil Nadu.

A pilot, this programme seeks to cover pregnant women from all socio-economic groups visiting private and public hospitals by registering themselves through health nurses or by logging on to the health department’s web page.

Although more than 60% of deliveries in Tamil Nadu happen in government hospitals, women delivering at private hospitals and homes remain out of the government’s information net. In rural areas women who have more than two children do not report on time to government hospitals because they are not eligible for welfare schemes like the Muthulakshmi Reddy scheme that draw them to government hospitals. “When women move places for delivery, we want to make sure health care providers at the new place have adequate information about the expectant mother. Information usually reaches district headquarters only when it audits maternal death. The new platform keeps everyone informed,” said a senior doctor working on the project. This has worked in Vepper (Perambalur), Shoolagiri (Krishnagiri) and Viralimalai (Pudukkotai) where the pilot programme is on.

This will also help the state get information on the number and reasons for termination of pregnancy and caesarian deliveries in private hospitals.

Maternal mortality ratio (the number of women in the 15-49 age group who die of pregnancy-related causes within 42 days of pregnancy termination per 100,000 live births) has been coming down across the country.

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