Increasing incidence of maternal deaths and poor quality of antenatal (ANC) services in Hyderabad Karnataka region of the state prompted the Jagrutha Mahila Sanghatan (JMS) to undertake a survey in 30 villages coming under the 7 PHC areas in Sindanoor and Manvi taluks of Raichur district. The survey was anchored by the leaders of JMS themselves in an attempt to systematically document access and quality of ANCfor women from the Dalit Madiga community in terms of:
• The quality of AN care women were receiving in government health facilities
• The extent to which women were forced to seek AN care in the private sector
• The out of pocket expenses incurred by pregnant women and their families in the private sector
• Various kinds of health problems suffered by pregnant women
• Outcomes of pregnancy
• Issues related to newborn care
Leaders from JMS used a modified pictorial survey tool to gather data over a two month period. Data was gathered from a total of 234 women from the Madiga community who had delivered in the village in the past one year preceding the survey. The data was then entered into SPSS for analysis.
Based on the survey analysis, deficiencies of services were found in ante-natal, child birth and post-natal services. The following point towards some of the significant deficies in services:
- Only 59% had registered in the first three months of pregnancy
- Only 40% women were weighed 3 times or more during the entire pregnancy
- Only 39% women’s BP was checked 3 times or more during the entire pregnancy
- Only 32% women’s abdomen was examined 3 times or more during the entire pregnancy
- Only 48% of the women’s height was measured during pregnancy
- 95% of the women had received TT injections
- 88% of the women’s hemoglobin was tested at least once during the entire pregnancy
- But only 31% of the women were given the entire course of prophylactic iron-folic acid (IFA) tablets of three packets
- 69% of the women tested anemic during pregnancy
- 9gm% was the average Hb during pregnancy among the surveyed women which indicated a serious threat for both mother and child during pregnancy, delivery and the postpartum period
- 69% of the women suffered health problems during pregnancy including severe vomiting, giddiness and high BP
JMS in solidarity with Karnataka Janaarogya Chaluvali (KJC) and other local people’s organisations undertook a campaign across the villages with a foot-march and a caravan carrying banners and pictorial rights awareness materials. This campaign was organised from 26 Dec 2017 to 4 January 2018. During this campaign public hearings were held in five primary health centres where report cards of the PHC and the conditions of services in the select villages coming under the particular PHC were presented before the medical officer along with the people.
This was followed by a rally ‘Manvi Chalo‘ – in the tehshil headquarters (Manvi) on 8 January 2018 where over 300 women gathered and presented the conditions of maternal health services to elected representatives and to the health authorities. The details are available at https://www.facebook.com/jms.chiguru/
Women of JMS has given one month’s time for the officials and elected representatives to provide facilities of scanning and neo-natal services in the Taluka hospital and stop referring women to private nursing homes. They have also warned the officials that JMS will continue the struggle in the district headquarters, if corrective measures are not taken up immediately.