Health voucher scheme for mothers in 4 districts

To improve mother and child health in urban slums, the government is planning a voucher scheme.

Under it, health vouchers will be given to people in the slums of Lucknow, Allahabad, Agra and Varanasi, enabling them to avail free reproductive and childcare services in selected private hospitals of these districts.

The initiative, called 'Sambhav', is on the lines of a pilot project run in Kanpur by State Innovations in Family Planning Services Project Agency (SIFPSA), Uttar Pradesh.

"The project was started in Kanpur some three years ago and now we are planning to replicate it," said Santosh Kumar, General Manager, (Human Resource, Administration and Procurement), SIFPSA, Uttar Pradesh. The project, he said, is expected to take off in the next one month.

Altogether, 495 slums in Lucknow, 205 in Varanasi, 209 in Agra and 171 slums in Allahabad have been found eligible for the scheme in a SIFPSA survey done last November-December. The survey also generated a master list of each household along with the expected beneficiary, said a senior SIFPSA officer.

Under the scheme, six vouchers for six different facilities will be provided: ante-natal care including three ANC checkups, iron tablets, TT injections, nutrition counselling and pathological services for pregnant women; delivery facilities normal as well as caesarian; post-natal care, two checkups, including breastfeeding as well as family planning counselling; family planning facilities including male and female sterilisation and intra-uterine contraceptive device; checkups and treatment of reproductive tract and sexually transmitted infection including counselling of partner; and one general health check-up for any member of the family in a year.

The accredited hospitals and nursing homes, which will provide free services to voucher holders, will then get their reimbursement through the implementing authority in each district.

The scheme will run in each of the districts under the District Innovations Family Planning Services Project Agency (DIFPSA), which will choose another implementation agency for the programme.

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