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Now, maternity huts for expecting mothers in Bihar

With maternity services crippled in flood-hit districts, the government, in association with the UNICEF, has floated the concept of maternity hut, reports Ruchir Kumar.

india Updated: Sep 05, 2007 02:45 IST
Ruchir Kumar
Ruchir Kumar
Hindustan Times

With health centres submerged and maternity services crippled in flood-hit districts of Bihar, the government, in association with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has floated the concept of “maternity hut”.

Buoyed by the success of the experiment in Samastipur district where Seeta Devi, a resident of flood-affected Bargama Gachhi village in Kalyanpur block, gave birth to a healthy baby girl in the wee hours of Sunday, the Bihar government has decided to open such huts at 50 locations in the first phase by the next week. These would be in the flood-hit districts of Madhubani, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, Begusarai and Khagaria.

Manned by four auxiliary nurse midwives, four paramedics and three doctors on rotation, the 'maternity huts', which provide free maternity services, including antenatal care and safe delivery for women, will come up at places not close to primary health centres and with a floating population of 500 or more.

Talking to Hindustan Times, Principal Health Secretary Deepak Kumar said, “We have identified a minimum of 50 locations for setting up 'maternity huts' and asked all the districts to send their requisition. Though right now we will be concentrating on the flood-hit districts of the State, we will keep the concept alive and extend the programme to all districts. Initially, we have tied up with the UNICEF for infrastructure support, but later on it's going to be a 100 per cent government venture.”

Asked how the government hit upon this idea, Kumar said: “Dependence on institutional delivery has increased manifold. Against 7,000 institutional deliveries reported in the state in July 2006, the figure had shot up to 46,000 in July 2007. This clearly shows the growing faith of the people in the government.”

Health specialist, Unicef (Bihar division), Sherin Varkey, said, “For the UNICEF, opening ‘maternity huts’ in disaster-hit areas was a normal practice. Samastipur’s was a pilot project and I am happy people have accepted it.”

First Published: Sep 05, 2007 02:41 IST