India has come a long way in terms of healthcare in recent years. However, there are still large disparities throughout the country in terms of access to quality medical care. The Indian government is committed to addressing these disparities and improving the overall health of the population through initiatives such as Ayushman Bharat Yojana.
Ayushman Bharat Yojana is a comprehensive healthcare scheme launched by the Indian government in September 2018. The scheme aims to cover the healthcare needs of the low-income and vulnerable population by providing them with cashless medical services through a network of public and private hospitals.
The scheme provides two major components: healthcare insurance coverage of up to INR 5 lakhs per family per year, and the creation of 150,000 health and wellness centres (HWCs) across the country. The scheme is also geared towards improving maternal and child healthcare by providing comprehensive insurance coverage under the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY).
The PMMVY is an initiative aimed at providing maternity insurance to pregnant women in India. The scheme provides financial assistance of up to Rs. 5,000 to women during their first pregnancy and subsequent pregnancies. The financial assistance is provided in three instalments, with the first instalment given upon registration of the pregnancy, the second instalment given after the first antenatal check-up, and the third instalment given after the second antenatal check-up.
The scheme is intended to encourage women to opt for institutional deliveries and promote maternal health. It is a step towards bridging the gaps in maternal healthcare in India. However, there is much more that needs to be done to improve maternal and child healthcare in India.
Maternal and Child Health in India
Maternal and child health is a critical indicator of the overall health of a population. In India, despite significant progress in recent years, maternal and child health remains an area of concern. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India accounts for around 17% of the global maternal deaths, making it one of the countries with the highest number of maternal deaths in the world.
The neonatal mortality rate in India is also a cause for concern, with around 600,000 newborn deaths in the country every year. The infant mortality rate in India is 33 per 1000 live births, and the under-five mortality rate is 39 per 1000 live births.
The reasons for the high mortality rates in India are numerous and include poor access to quality maternal and child healthcare, inadequate nutrition, lack of education among mothers, and limited awareness about maternal and child health.
Ayushman Bharat Yojana: Impact on Maternal Healthcare
Ayushman Bharat Yojana has recognized the importance of maternal and child health in India and has taken significant steps towards improving access to quality maternal healthcare through comprehensive insurance.
Under the scheme, pregnant women are provided with cashless medical services for all ailments related to pregnancy and childbirth. This includes antenatal care, delivery, and postnatal care at all public and empanelled private hospitals.
The scheme also provides financial assistance through the PMMVY for pregnant women to promote institutional deliveries and encourage women to seek antenatal care. The PMMVY provides financial assistance of Rs. 5,000, which can be used for a range of expenses related to pregnancy and childbirth.
The impact of Ayushman Bharat Yojana on maternal and child health is evident from the statistics. The institutional delivery rate in India has increased from around 67% in 2016 to 87% in 2019. The number of antenatal care visits during pregnancy has also increased, with around 88% of women now receiving at least one antenatal care visit, compared to 79% in 2015-16.
The scheme has also contributed to a decrease in maternal and child mortality rates in India. According to the National Health Mission (NHM), there has been a significant decrease in maternal and child mortality rates in states that have implemented Ayushman Bharat Yojana.
Challenges in Implementing Maternal Health Initiatives
While Ayushman Bharat Yojana is a significant step towards improving maternal healthcare in India, there are still significant challenges that need to be addressed in the implementation of maternal health initiatives.
One of the major challenges is the lack of awareness and education about maternal healthcare in India. Women in rural areas, in particular, are often unaware of the importance of antenatal care and institutional deliveries. There is a need for increased awareness and education about maternal healthcare in India to encourage women to seek antenatal care and institutional deliveries.
Another challenge is the lack of access to quality maternal healthcare facilities in rural areas. While Ayushman Bharat Yojana provides cashless medical services to pregnant women, many women in rural areas may not have access to the necessary healthcare facilities.
There is also a shortage of healthcare professionals in rural areas, making it difficult to provide quality maternal healthcare services. The government needs to focus on increasing the number of healthcare professionals in rural areas to provide quality maternal healthcare services.
Ayushman Bharat Yojana is a significant step towards improving maternal and child healthcare in India. Through comprehensive insurance coverage and financial assistance through the PMMVY, the scheme has encouraged women to seek antenatal care and institutional deliveries and contribute to a decrease in maternal and child mortality rates.
However, there are still significant challenges that need to be addressed in the implementation of maternal health initiatives. The government needs to focus on increasing awareness and education about maternal healthcare in India and providing quality healthcare facilities and healthcare professionals in rural areas.
Overall, Ayushman Bharat Yojana is a significant step towards bridging the gaps in maternal healthcare in India and improving the overall health of the population.