In an effort to bridge the widening gap between rural and urban health needs of women, a free mobile Healthcare unit (MHU) was launched in Delhi. Shikhar Dhawan, opener of the Indian International Cricket Team, lighted the torch at Triveni Kala Sangam in the presence of a large gathering of dignitaries.
The Naari Jeevan Srot Express (MHU), as it is called, is a unique initiative that will connect 15 cities through a bus cruise for the cause of women and girl child health was flagged off by Dr Sushma Dureja. Deputy Commissioner (AH), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare under the Naari Jeevan Srot program.
The Express, a unique initiative by the Gaudium Foundation will connect 74 districts and 250 locations in Northern India, thereby reaching out to more people in far flung areas across the country and touching more than 9.5 crore people. The bus will hold 18 medical camps in Delhi and cover multiple villages in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Jammu.
A key aspect of the program is to counter underreporting of illnesses among women and ensure access to quality services. Apart from mapping the magnitude of gynaecological diseases among Indian women and sensitizing health care professionals on the same, the campaign intends to seek probable solutions, covering all the aspects of treatment modalities, right from risk identification and analysis, preventive strategies, diagnosis and medication, treatment or surgery, if required.
The purpose of the Naari Jeevan Srot Express is to support the efforts of the government to reduce maternal deaths and promote well being of the girl child. Though there has been considerable progress on the twin fronts of newborn and reproductive health, but still a lot needs to be done, said Dr. Manika Khanna, Founder & Principal consultant, Gaudium Foundation.
The mobile unit will provide free treatment including medicines, iron supplements, diet counselling besides full body check up and body composition analysis with advance technology equipments.
Dr Alok Bhandari, President, IMA (west) said, The Express will travel more than 10,000 km and help to conduct 200 medical camps and 400 customised health skits (nukkad nataks) The campaign will bust myths, and elucidate the enigma around womens Infertility diseases in the country, and more importantly awaken them to the realities of their holistic health through street plays, health camps and public education material.
Dr Bhandari informed that the major direct causes of maternal morbidity and mortality were due to haemorrhage, infection, high blood pressure, unsafe abortion, and obstructed labour. Additionally, lack of access to skilled medical care during childbirth, the travel distance to the nearest clinic to receive proper care, number of prior births, barriers to accessing prenatal medical care and poor infrastructure also contributed significantly to maternal deaths.
Announcing the launch of Naari Jeevan Srot Express, Indian Cricketer, Shikhar Dhawan said, “In today’s day and age, understanding the value of good health is crucial. I believe we as citizens should do whatever it takes to promote womens health and keep fatalities at bay. I am confident that the cause will be supported with full vigour, helping to create a healthier and happier society in India.”
Dr Manika Khanna, added, “Currently, women in India face a multitude of health problems some of which becomes social stigma for them like infertility, rising incidents of reproductive illnesses in young women and conditions associated with infertility such as Polycystic Ovarian Disease & Genital TB, which is increasingly affecting women even in their teens. This calls for large-scale initiatives that not only connect people from all walks of life but also engage them through a unique awareness drive.
Key dignitaries present at the launch included Smt. Meenakshi Lekhi Member of Parliament, Dr. (Prof.) Jagdish Mukhi M.LA, Dr. R.S.Sharma, Sr. Deputy Director General ICMR, Dr. Peeyush Khanna of Gaudium Foundation and members of Delhi Medical Association (DMA) and Indian Medical Association (IMA)
According to the latest data from the Registrar General, Indias maternal mortality rate (MMR), or the rate of deaths among women during or after pregnancy stood at 178 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2010-12 and is behind the target of 103 deaths per live births to be achieved by 2015 under the United Nations-mandated Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). According to Government of India National Family Health Survey (NFHS II, 1998-1999) the maternal mortality in rural areas is approximately 132 percent the number of maternal mortality in urban areas.