Bhubaneswar: After almost two years of its rollout by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) seems to be struggling in the state as many private practitioners are reluctant to render their services in government hospitals.
Many gynaecologists and obstetricians from the state— who form the base of the scheme which aims to provide free consultations by private doctors to the patients visiting government hospitals for a single day in a month— are reluctant to serve at government hospitals. They complain that neither the Centre nor the state government is excited enough to take care of the scheme.
“Many doctors, including me, stopped going to the government hospitals to serve the patients under the PMSMA. The state government hardly cares to invite the doctors for the services at the government hospitals while the centre lacks in coordination and monitoring of the scheme in the state,” a leading gynaecologist from the city told Orissa POST, requesting anonymity.
She said that many patients who avail the services under the scheme are also ‘deprived’ of other government facilities under other schemes meant for expectant mothers. This goes against the earlier commitment of gynaecologists from the state who wanted to serve the people through these government hospitals. Many doctors complain that both the state and central government are not enthusiastic about the flagship programme. A total of 320 gynaecologists from Odisha had assured the government to extend their support to the noble initiative and visit government hospitals located in different parts of the state so as to give free and voluntary consultations to pregnant women. According to the scheme, private doctors, mainly gynaecologists and obstetricians from across the country, were requested to dedicate their voluntary services to public health institutions by treating patients at the facilities on the 9th of every month.
The scheme was launched November 4, 2016 in New Delhi by the Union Health Minister JP Nadda. The Odisha chapter of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSCI) had then claimed to have on board around 320 private gynaecologists out of the 1,000 members of the society in Odisha for taking part in the joint private-public ‘purely voluntary collaboration’.
The national programme meant to provide special free antenatal care to about three crore pregnant women across the country in order to detect and prevent high-risk pregnancies and ultimately to reduce the Maternal and Infant Mortality Rates. Under the programme, pregnant women were entitled to avail the facilities of free consultation, blood checkup, urine checkup and ultrasound facilities at any public health institution.
For smooth implementation of the programme, different voluntary organisations and international bodies were expected to extend their support. Indian Medical Association (IMA), Unicef, FOGSCI, Rotary Clubs and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have jumped onto the bandwagon to spread the benefits of the scheme to different parts of the state.