Shivpuri (Madhya Pradesh): Village woman Lajja was blessed with her second child in
the wee hours of the morning at Chharch. The baby was born at the
health centre in her village and she feels relaxed, safe and at
home. The centre is taking care of her treatment, food and
medicine - for free.
It is being funded by the Department of Health and Family Welfare,
government of Madhya Pradesh, under the National Rural Health
Mission (NRHM). This is unlike her first baby's birth when she had
to travel more than 35 km away from her home.
The centre was around at that time but was non-functional. Now it
is revamped, expanded and provides 24x7 institutional care for
pregnant women and infants. This has been possible due to funding
from NRHM and support from Unicef.
It is helping save lives in an area that is 75 km away from the
district headquarters and to reach which, one has to cross Kuna
jungle. A well-built connecting road has helped. The centre makes
an ambulance service available for pregnant women called Janani
Express and serves as a vaccination centre for children. It is
also the distribution point for vaccines for seven nearby centres.
Poonam, a seven-month-old girl, sits in her mother Jiyo's lap in
the covered lawns of the Chharch sub health centre. Jiyo carries
her child's immunisation card and waits for her turn to get Poonam
vaccinated by an auxiliary nurse.
Poonam was born at a district hospital and was referred there by
the Janani Express parked at the centre. Jiyo had problems in her
delivery and thanks to the sub health centre and the availability
of ambulance service in the remote area, she was taken to the
district hospital. Jiyo thanks the staff at the centre and the
facilities that helped her give birth.
Chharch village is in Pohri development block, 75 km away from the
Shivpuri district headquarters. One has to travel through the Kuno
jungle to reach this village. Though now it has a good connecting
road to Shivpuri, it is still in the interiors and the nearest
health centre is at Pohri, 35-40 km away.
Chharch used to be an old sub heath centre, but today it offers
24x7 services of institutional delivery for pregnant women. More
than 500 safe deliveries have happened since its renovation in
2010. Two deliveries happened the day we visited. The sub health
centre has had the Janani Express attached to the centre and is
Unicef provided not only financial but technical support to make
this centre functional.
"It is a boon for our people," quips a zila panchayat member.
Chharch has electricity problems, making things difficult for a
vaccine storage unit. But now a solar refrigerator has been
provided to the centre by Unicef. It also has solar lamps in case
its services are needed at night and there is no electricity.
Unicef had provided 20 such solar refrigerators to the state which
are being used in districts like Sehore, Shivpuri, Dewas, Barwani,
Khargone, Jhabua, Bhind, Morena, Chhatarpur and Panna.
Chharch is proof of what wonders a fully functional rural health
centre can do.
(Anil Gulati can be contacted at email@example.com)