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‘Together we can’- a congregation of partners for Maternal & Newborn Health

Aug 31 2018 / Posted in Maternal health


By Dr. Namrata Dhagga

The 6th Partners’ Meet for the Maternal and Newborn health program was held on 14th August, 2018 at Thane. The meeting was jointly hosted by DDHS office, Thane and SNEHA and attended by representatives from 7 Municipal Corporations, State departments, NHM including representative from Maharashtra Emergency Medical Services (MEMS), Cipla Foundation and other officials. The theme of the Partners’ meet was ‘Together We Can”. The meeting was facilitated by Mr. Jayant Kumar Banthia, former Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra. Ms. Sarita Patil, Associate Program Director anchored the meet and informed all attendees about the focus and agenda of the Partners’ Meet. The meeting began with a welcome address by Vanessa D'Souza, CEO of SNEHA. She welcomed all guests and briefly discussed the achievements of SNEHA’s work in Maternal & Newborn Health.

This was followed by address note by Dr. Shanti Pantvaidya, the Executive Director of SNEHA, who lucidly outlined the problems of high Maternal and Neonatal Mortality rates in our country although countries with much lower socioeconomic standards and poor governance have been able to reduce their morbidity indicators drastically.

Ms. Sweety, Associate Program Director of MNH gave a talk on the existing public health facilities in four Municipal corporations, their monthly workload in terms of deliveries and referrals and the challenges in EmOC services.

After a brief tea break, the session continued with a talk by Dr. Balasaheb, Program Officer, 108 Emergency Medical Services, who discussed in detail the services provided by 108 Ambulance, their scope of providing assistance during an emergency situation and all India data on services provided.

Dr. Sandhya Khadse, Dean of Rajiv Gandhi Medical College, Kalwa delivered the keynote address on “Revolutionizing Neonatal Healthcare in Poor Resource Settings”. She emphasized on the need of self sufficiency of health facilities for better neonatal outcomes and maternal health.

The last event was a group discussion to address the issues of a) Strengthening Primary Health Care Services b) Strengthening and sustaining maternity referral system; and c) Future vision to ensure self sufficiency of municipal corporations in terms of maternal and neonatal care.

The following major points emerged from group discussion:

Strengthening Primary Health Care Services:

  1. Relocation of some of the health posts needs to be done in order to improve the accessibility of services at the health post.
  2. Deficiency in data entry officer needs to be looked into as support staff has to prepare numerous reports apart from providing services which takes away a lot of their time resulting in compromised services to the pregnant and lactating women.
  3. Payment of ASHA workers needs to be fixed to avoid their turnover.
  4. MAS need to be internalized by the corporation; SNEHA can facilitate in doing so.

Strengthening and Sustaining Maternity Referral System:

  1. To decrease the number of referrals from Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation (KDMC) & Bhiwandi Nizampur City Municipal Corporation (BNMC); the Vasai Virar City Municipal Corporation model can be adopted by reallocating the shift duties of specialists evenly within 24X7.
  2. Need of having maternity homes in KDMC & BNMC for managing normal deliveries
  3. Strengthening of basic newborn care services in KDMC and BNMC.
  4. SNEHA can facilitate in capacity building of health care providers (eg. For BAMS doctors, 4th grade employees etc. for quality care) as per the requirements of the corporations.

Future Vision to Ensure Self Sufficiency of TMC, UMC, KDMC and BNMC in terms of Maternal and Neonatal care:

  1. To have strong regional referral centers, Thane Civil hospital should get recognition for DNB course and Rajeev Gandhi Medical college, Kalwa to become Post Graduate Medical college.
  2. Linking Civil hospital, Thane with nearby private medical college for skill development.
  3. Strengthening referral linkages from UMC to Thane Civil and Kalwa medical college.

The meet concluded with a vote of thanks by Dr. Harvinder Palaha, Program Director, MNH.


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