Shimla: As India celebrates National Motherhood Day on Sunday, Himachal has reasons to cheer, as Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) has declined to 55 per 1,00,000 live births which is better than the envisaged global target.

The institutional delivery has increased to 91 percent in the state. This has been achieved due to the state government’s commitment to provide quality health services to the women of urban as well as rural areas during pregnancy, delivery and post-delivery.

National Motherhood Day is observed every year on April 11, on the birth anniversary of Kasturba Gandhi, the wife of the father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi, to raise awareness about adequate access to care during pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal services.

The state government has taken many initiatives for the care of pregnant women. The government has launched Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) to promote institutional deliveries. It is an initiative to provide completely free and cashless services to pregnant women including normal deliveries and caesarean operations and sick newborn up to one year after birth in government health institutions in both rural and urban areas.

The entitlements include free drugs and consumables, free diagnostics, free blood if required and free diet. It also provides free transport from home to health institutions, free transport between facilities in case of referral and free drop back from Institutions to home. Similar entitlements have been put in place for all sick newborns and infants accessing public health institutions for their treatment.

As maternal health and newborn health are closely linked, it is being ensured by the government in all health facilities that the growth of the fetus including vital parameters is also monitored during the Ante-Natal Checkups (ANCs).

In addition, to motivate families for institutional deliveries, women are given motivational money of Rs. 1100 for institutional delivery under Janani Suraksha Yojna. For facilitation of the pregnant women and to minimize the risk during travelling, state government has also started an ambulance service Janani Express-102.

Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan has been implemented in the state in letter and spirit, which aims to provide assured, comprehensive and quality antenatal care, free of cost, universally to all pregnant women on the 9th of every month.