KCR kits: How institutional deliveries rose by 22 per cent

Paper: II

For Prelims:  KCR kits.

For Mains: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Context of News:

  • Health Minister of Telangana in his state budget speech has told that the KCR scheme has helped reduce infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate, and female foeticide while ensuring that mothers remain healthy and get nutritious food at the hospital.

  • This KCR Scheme has led to increase in institutionalized delivery by 22 percent in Telangana state in last 30 months.

About KCR Kits Scheme

  • KCR Kits Scheme of Telangana Government is aimed at the wellbeing of pregnant and lactating women and the newborn babies. The pregnant women are given Rs 12,000 financial assistance in three installments. Rs 1,000 given additionally if the baby happens to be a girl.

  • The idea is to encourage more and more deliveries in the government hospitals, reduce the infant mortality rate and female foeticide.

  • Immediately after the delivery, Government gives KCR Kit with 16 items consisting of clothes, baby soaps, oil, powder, mosquito net, toys, napkins, diapers etc.

  • After the delivery, the mother and newborn are provided with transportation through Amma Vodi vehicles.

  • Introduction of KCR Kit Scheme has resulted in increasing the public health institutional deliveries by about 16% from 32.8% to 47.2% since the launch in June, 2017.

How KCR Kit scheme is making institutionalized Delivery?

  • The KCR kits are proving to be a boon for the pregnant women hailing from economically underprivileged families. The items provided for free are expensive when purchased outside; so it is a big relief to the mothers.

  • The scheme also tested the capacities and capabilities of government hospitals, primary and community health centres as more and more women started coming to government facilities for delivery, but we scaled it up and also recruited a lot of staff to ensure it goes on smoothly.

  • This scheme is helping in reducing infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate, and female foeticide while ensuring that mothers remain healthy and get nutritious food at the hospital.

  • The pre-delivery registration is also helping in tracking and monitoring the pregnant woman’s health. By giving the stipend in installments, Telangana Government is also ensuring that the children are immunized.

  • There have been improvements in vital healthcare parameters at multiple levels. The scheme has not only led to an increase in the number of deliveries in government hospitals but also has improved regular Antenatal (ANC) check-ups and even immunization.

Way Forward:

Institutional deliveries unequal in rural areas:

  • Institutional deliveries across states of India were unequal for women in rural areas, especially those from poor social groups who were illiterate and were from the lower wealth quintile and as affirmed in the existing literature discussing their causes. These factors hold true for most other health outcomes, too. Huge disparities existed across Indian states in the use of healthcare facilities by women when seen in terms of institutional delivery.

  • High-income states in general showed a better share in accessing institutional delivery by women as compared to the poor EAG states and those in the Northeastern peripheral states. Disparity in health care outcome (institutional delivery) was not only a phenomenon witnessed across regions/states, but was also found across various socioeconomic communities.’

Illiterate, social backward classes led to inter-group relative deprivation:

  • The empirical validation showed that there existed inter-group relative deprivation, that is, rural women, illiterate, social backward classes and women belonging to the lower quintile or lower economic ladder in the wealth quintile were more deprived than their counterparts. However, interestingly it was also observed that the extent of such deprivation also varied across groups, as the degree of deprivation was much more extreme for illiterate and the lower quintile groups suggesting prescribing that economic inequality was one of the major impediments when it came to women’s healthcare. Thus, it became essential that interventions should be more focused in reaching those poorly endowed populations if their health status was to be improved, so that national and global goals could be achieved.

India Calls for SAARC emergency fund

Paper: II

For Prelims:

For Mains: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

Context of News:

  • South Asian nations agreed March 16 of 2020 to evolve a common strategy to meet the challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic with India proposing the creation of an emergency fund with an initial contribution of $10 million to halt the onslaught of the disease that has so far claimed nearly 6,000 lives globally.

SAARC Conference outcomes:

  • SAARC fund to launch social enterprise programme in India and 7 other member nations. The programme intends to fund around 80 enterprises across the 8 SAARC member states annually.The programme intends to fund around 80 enterprises across the 8 SAARC member states annually. India proposed a “Covid-19 emergency fund” to which India would contribute $10 million initially.

  • India has also offered online training for health workers in Saarc countries to scale up skills to beat Covid-19, which has so far infected more than 150,000 people in 142 countries.

  • SAARC countries also agreed on evolving a common strategy, that are critical to handling such challenges and we agree to find cooperative solutions. We will share knowledge best practices, capacities, and, where possible, resources

  • SAARC countries agreed that they have to do their best for neighbors. Member countries agreed to work with their officials to maintain close contact and develop a common strategy in the spirit of partnership and the spirit of working together. SAARC countries emphasized on neighborhood collaboration, which should be a model for the world.

  • Several members, including Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina, called for a common research platform to coordinate research on controlling epidemic diseases within the region. She said health ministers, secretaries and others should have similar teleconferences.

  • India has set up an Integrated Disease Surveillance Portal to better trace possible virus carriers and the people they contacted. The PM offered to share this technology with Saarc partners besides providing training on using it.

  • Afghanistan proposed modeling diffusion patterns, creation of a common framework for telemedicine and greater cooperation.

India’s Baton of fight against Covid-19?

  • The Covid 19 pandemic is going to have serious global consequences. Besides the illness and death it brings, it will see a lockdown of more countries, the suspension of air travel across regions, a gutting of financial markets and trade. Within countries you could well see healthcare systems overwhelmed as in Wuhan and Italy.

  • India will not be immune to these developments. Indeed, our challenge will be to keep our fatality rate low, take containment measures that will give our already stressed public health system time to cope with the situation.

  • Covid-19 has already hit the stock market which has seen its biggest fall in history recently. Other sectors like tourism and travel have also been hit and related to this is civil aviation which will get affected because of flight cancellations and visa restrictions. If the situation deteriorates in India, and there are lockdowns in parts of the country, there could be a major disruption of economic activity in the country.

Way forward:

  • No one can accuse the Indian government of being lax on account of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.  On the very day the WHO declared it to be a pandemic, the government took the drastic step of suspending all visas for entry into India and restricted the arrival of people from abroad, but looking at the rising incidence of Covid-19 positive cases, government of India should Increase high cost of medical education in the private sector is forcing many students in India to look for cheaper destinations abroad.

  • Given the route it has taken, India should be prepared for an exponential spread of the virus. In keeping with the global trend it is more than certain that containment efforts will not be entirely successful, and we will have to act to mitigate its spread. This will inevitably build a great deal of pressure on India’s healthcare system, which is not the greatest in the world to start with. At the end of the day, its incidence will depend on the political leadership, the national policies they unveil and the capacities that the country possesses.

  • So far, in terms of containment, India has not done too badly. But we must be prepared for mitigation meaning  drastic measures to enforce social distancing—closing schools, shops, cinemas, banning public events, even shutting down mass transit systems. The second element would be to provide care for those infected. Here, we’re in big trouble. India’s public health network which is, to use the polite word patchy. Its hospitals are already overcrowded and in many places lack even basic equipment.