Orissa will soon provide 24-hour free transport facilities to all expecting mothers for institutional delivery, a move that aims at reducing maternal deaths, an official said on Tuesday.
The new initiative called 'Janani Express' will be implemented in 124 blocks of the state's 314 blocks next month onwards in the first phase, a health official told IANS.
The blocks selected for the first phase are those where at least 50 or more women are being admitted for delivery every month, he said.
The state has a maternal mortality rate (MMR) of 358 per 100,000 and an infant mortality rate of 73 per 1,000, according to the Register General of India sample registration system, 2006.
The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in India is 450 deaths per 100,000 live births. <b1>
The vehicles provided by the government under the new scheme will also be called "Janani Express" and will be equipped with all necessary facilities for taking expecting mothers to health institutions, the official said.
Drivers of these vehicles would have mobile phones so that they can report about the patient's health status to the hospital if needed, he added.
The special vehicles will also display the telephone numbers to avail of the service.
Janani Express could be utilised by women to deal with any emergency during the pre and post-delivery period. Besides, sick infants would also benefit from the transport facility under the scheme, the official added.
These special vehicles will be available at government hospitals, community health centres and primary health centres.