In a first, the Public Health Department of Maharashtra has been conducting a regular medical checkup of newly married couples across the state to reduce infant mortality rate and delivery of healthy babies among them.
The health department volunteers check body mass index (BMI) and haemoglobin among other other health parameters of newly married couples from different districts, with an aim of early detection and intervention under the mother and children health programmes across the state.
The programme, first launched in Nashik as a pilot project, has been extended to several districts — Akola, Buldhana, Latur, Nanded, Akola, Dhule, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, Kolhapur, Sangli, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Nagpur, Wardha, Bhandara, Aurangabad, Jalna, Parbhani, Hingoli, Pune, Solapur, Satara, Thane and Raigad.
“It has often been observed that many newly married couples migrate from one place to another. If a woman gets pregnant, she might miss out on essential medical follow-ups too in the process. So, we are trying to reach out to such newly married couples and examine their health parameters before migration,” said Dr Dayanand Suryawanshi, district health officer of Palghar.
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These women are also checked for diabetes, HIV, haemoglobin, sickle cell, along with chronic conditions and diseases like hypertension, tuberculosis, severe anaemia, epilepsy, cardiac ailments, reproductive tract infections and goitre among others.
“If we find the BMI of a woman below 18.5 or over 25, we refer her to a tertiary care hospital for further examination,” said an officer from the health department, requesting anonymity.
Maharashtra has recently secured the second spot in India in curbing maternal mortality rate, from 38 per 1 lakh live births to 33/lakh live births, while Kerala bagged the top position.