The Union Health Ministry and Women and Child Development Ministry will start registering pregnancies in 10 blocks shortly, the government said on Friday.
The project — a first of its type which received flak from many women’s organisations — will be used to prepare a database of pregnancies and keep a track on the number of pregnancies that ultimately result in childbirth.
The government expects that by October 2007, the pilot project will be implemented in 10 blocks with a high child malnutrition rate and skewed sex ratio.
The government is in the process of finalising the 10 blocks. Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury said that the idea is to ensure pregnant women get nutritional and immunisation support. “Simultaneously, we will come to know how many of the pregnancies actually mature into births,” she said.
The detailed database thus formed will help in singling out the issues involved in certain pregnancies that do not result in births, and the ministry would then take up the matter with the ministry or department concerned, an official said.
Health minister Anbumani Ramadoss said the 6.20 lakh women workers being trained under the National Rural Health Scheme (NRHS) would be utilised in implementing the project. The WCD ministry will also implement a new scheme for girl children in these 10 blocks. Under the scheme, the girl child will get over Rs 7,000 and an insurance cover of Rs one lakh immediately after birth.
Thereafter, the government will pay for her immunisation charges and education expenses till she clears her class X examinations. And after she is 18 years old, the government will give another small amount to make her financially stable.
“All we are waiting for is an approval from the Finance Ministry. The government has already allocated Rs 15 crore for the scheme in this year’s budget,” an official said.