The Srinagar administration has reached out to more than 6,300 women expecting a baby in the next four months, allaying their fears about proper care during the coronavirus outbreak with a package that includes regular checkups and the availability of ambulances.
The plan was chalked out after a team went door to door around Srinagar city and its outskirts to identify women needing help during these difficult days, when all of India is under lockdown, officials said. Jammu and Kashmir has more than 400 cases of COVID-19 and five fatalities. With panic about the pandemic rising, several people in the Kashmir Valley are under quarantine.
It is in these difficult times that pregnant women need both help and reassurance, officials said. And so, Srinagar Deputy Commissioner Shahid Iqbal Choudhary got together with some officials to draw up a plan for special care to expectant mothers. It includes a dedicated 24×7 helpline to facilitate end-to-end assistance, regular medical checks, ambulance services, hospital line-ups as well as counselling and vaccinations.
The condition of the woman, pre-and post delivery, will be monitored on a web-based application which will have details such as expected date of delivery, administrative action, hospital assistance and vaccination schedules, officials said. After the baby is born, the administration will give the new mother a ‘baby kit’ that includes nutrition supplements, lotions and soaps and sanitiser. The kit will be enough to last the mother and baby three months, they added.
The aim of the administration is to ensure that a baby is born healthy and in a safe environment keeping in view the threat of COVID-19, Choudhary told PTI.
“The assistance for expectant mothers is important to avoid any medical complications and to ensure that both mother and the newborn are healthy and get proper nutrition as well as vaccinations,” he added. Explaining the logistics of how the details were finalised, officials said the administration roped in 1,200 odd anganwadi and healthcare workers across the district to conduct a survey for pregnant women with a tentative delivery date in the next four months.
Choudhary drew up a team led by Zeenat Ara, a Kashmir Administrative Officer who is district coordinator of the Integrated Child Development Programme. She has been dealing with issues being faced by women since March 17, when Srinagar shut down.
Around a dozen officials were also deputed for the job. Sixteen localities have been declared ‘red zones’ in the entire district. The district has been divided into four administrative zones and 6,330 women identified for assistance — 2,155 from North Srinagar which comprises some rural areas, 1,435 from Eidgah and 1,445 from Khanyar-East divisions of downtown areas of the city and 1,295 in west Srinagar, they said.
Though there are ambulances, the district administration has procured five new ambulances specifically for the project.
Another fleet of six vehicles is dedicated for various aspects of the project, including movement of teams to homes, medical check-ups and ensuring that a team of doctors in readiness to respond on call are able to reach the patient. The 24X7 helpline will be manned by four officials who will be put on six hour shifts.
The project is being funded by “converged funds” from several schemes such as ‘Beti Bacho Beti Padao’, district plan and State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).
“It needed sufficient funds and convergence was the only way,” the deputy commissioner said. He said convergence of not only funds but also manpower, human resource and expertise is required to make such a plan a success.