A scheme titled Coupon Lao; Sehat Pao was launched on 24th January 2007 in seven blocks of Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India that will provide free maternal healthcare benefits and pre-pregnancy care to an estimated 8,000 women. Rural women in Khandauli, Etmadpur, Bichpuri, Akola, Barauli Ahir, Fatehabad and Shamsabad could avail healthcare services understand the Coupon Lao, Sehat Pao voucher scheme that is sponsored by USAID’s Innovations in Family Planning Services (IFPS). Women could avail free services in family planning and reproductive healthcare like antenatal care, institutional deliveries, post-pregnancy care and sterilisations. The project would be integrated with the Ministry of Health’s Janani Surakasha Yojna, under the ongoing National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), which is aimed to benefit rural women. The project has started on a pilot basis and will be extended to families living below poverty line (BPL) across UP, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand. The aim is to reduce maternal mortality and infant mortality in the country. For the project, 720 ASHA’s (Accredited Social Health Activists) have been recruited to identify the BPL families. Those who don’t have the BPL card could take a certificate from the village pradhan authenticating the families’ economic condition.

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