Odisha Maternity Scheme Better Than Centre: Survey

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Bhubaneswar: Odisha leads other states in woman and child health indicators thanks to its state-run maternity scheme and focus on social development, according to a latest survey.

The Jaccha-Baccha Survey (JABS) was led by economists Jean Drèze, Reetika Khera and Anmol Somanchi and conducted across six states — Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh — in June 2019. The survey findings were reported on Monday.

In each state, survey teams visited 10 to 12 randomly-selected ‘anganwadis’ and interviewed 342 pregnant and 364 nursing women covered by the anganwadi scheme. The exercise revealed that Odisha, which has a separate state-run maternity scheme, performed better on social indicators pertaining to health of women and children, as opposed to those that are fully dependent on the Central government.

The report noted that the Odisha government’s ‘Mamata’ scheme covered two children and not one, unlike the Centre’s ‘Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana’ (PMMVY), and that the state performed much better in every respect of coverage—awareness levels, application rates, and actual benefits, the Economic Times reported.

“Some states, notably Odisha, are now giving eggs as ‘take-home ration’ (THR) to pregnant and nursing women. This is a good practice that should be replicated in all states,” said the report.

The survey also noted that the reach of integrated child development services (ICDS) was relatively better in Odisha, with near-universal coverage of basic services (health check-up, tetanus injections, iron and folic acid tablets, food supplements, etc.) among pregnant and nursing women registered at the anganwadi.

Khera said states such as Odisha and Tamil Nadu had the advantage of state-run maternity schemes, and governments that have been committed to social development.

The report added, “In Odisha and Chhattisgarh, we also found many signs of positive change, brightly painted anganwadis, breakfast for the kids, a pre-school education syllabus, collaboration between anganwadi and health workers, and eggs as THRs (in Odisha).”

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