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‘Maa Gruha’ Promoting Safe Motherhood in Sundargarh

Sundargarh, October 14, 2022: “Few days before delivery, I was shifted from home to the Maa Gruha at Poigaon where my health was regularly monitored. I was later taken to the hospital at the right time and I delivered a healthy baby. On doctor’s advice, I was kept at the Maa Gruha for over a week for post-delivery care,” said Basanti Dehuri, a resident of Mahulpada village in Lahunipada block of Sundargarh district.

“I was worried about my delivery since my house is a bit far from the hospital. I heaved a sigh of relief after my village ASHA and Anganwadi Didis counseled me and took me to the Maa Gruha at Khatkurbahal,” said Anima Lakra, an expectant mother from Kahupani village in Kutra block of the district.

Like Basanti Dehuri and Anima Lakra, expectant mothers from various hard-to-reach areas in Odisha are being ensured care and safe motherhood at Maa Gruha (Maternity Waiting Home) set up by the state Govt. at various strategic locations. This has helped in ensuring calibrated care and treatment for pregnant women, lactating mothers and newborns, while promoting institutional delivery.

As per the data available with the district health officials, in the last 9 months (January-September, 2022), pre & post-natal care services has been extended to 6,169 mothers at 20 Maa Gruhas located at various places in Sundargarh. Of them, 3,809 were expectant mothers, while 2,360 were lactating mothers.

Being a forested district, dotted with towering hills, ravines, perennial rivers and a web of rivulets, several places in Sundargarh are fraught with geographical barriers. Therefore, timely transportation of expectant mothers in hard-to-reach areas often poses a big challenge. The setting up of Maa Gruhas by the District Administration has offered a tangible solution to the impediments.

As part of the calibrated healthcare strategy, expectant mothers from hard-to-reach areas are shifted to Maa Gruhas which have been set up in the vicinity of Government Hospitals, well before the expected date of delivery. At Maa Gruha, the beneficiaries are given nutritious food, made to do the required physical exercises under expert supervision, while their health is monitored regularly. The staff at the Maa Gruhas facilitate in the shifting of expectant mothers to the designated hospital when the delivery time approaches.

“We brief expectant mothers and their family members about the healthcare services available at Maa Gruha. We counsel and help them to shift the mother to the Maa Gruha near the village well before delivery,” said ASHA worker Anita Lakra from Kandhabahal village in Kutra block.

Pankajini Mahanta, an ANM & in-charge of Maa Gruha at Khatkurbahal said, “Necessary arrangements have been provisioned for care and treatment of every expectant mother staying at the Maa Gruha. Their vitals like height, weight are regularly monitored along with blood pressure and sugar level. Moreover, they are counseled on important subjects like baby care, benefits of breast feeding and personal hygiene.”

Four Maa Gruhas were set up in Sundargarh district for the first time in 2012 under the National Health Mission. Later, a chain of Maa Gruhas were set up at strategic locations in the district by the Administration with financial support from the Sundargarh District Mineral Foundation (DMF). At present, a total of 20 Maa Gruhas are functional across 12 blocks of the district.

Provision of free food and lodging for one accompanying family member of every beneficiary has been made at the Maa Gruha. Moreover, daily incentive of Rs. 150 is given to each of the beneficiaries for a maximum period of 22 days (15 days before and 7 days after delivery) stay at the Maternity Waiting Homes. For the smooth running of the Maa Gruhas, the Administration has roped in the service of non-profits.

The flagship ‘Matrujyoti’ programme for safe motherhood & childcare is presently operational in Sundargarh district with financial support from the District Mineral Foundation (DMF). Under the programme, 4 Ultrasound and a host of pathological tests are provided to expectant mothers free of cost. The mothers staying at Maa Gruhas have been included for all services under the ‘Matrujyoti’ programme.

Free ambulance service has been extended to ferry expectant mothers from their homes to the nearby Maa Gruha and from Maa Gruha to hospitals & back. In hard-to-reach areas where regular ambulances can’t reach, Bike Ambulance ‘Swashtya Rakshak’ offers an alternative. At present, 9 Bike Ambulances are operational in the hilly Rajgangpur, Gurundia and Koira blocks with financial support from the Odisha Mineral Bearing Areas Development Corporation (OMBADC).

In tribal dominated Sundargarh, the Maa Gruhas are playing the role of a catalyst in strengthening the holistic action plan of mother & childcare endeavors of the Government, while helping in curbing MMR & IMR in the district.

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