The government has provided free air rescue service to a total of 246 pregnant and post-partum women since it introduced the provision in 2018.

According to figures released by the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens, it rescued 26 women in 2018-19, 87 in 2019-20, 103 in 2020-21 and 30 in the first two months of the running fiscal.

The MoWCSC said the government saved the lives of 246 pregnant and post-partum women of remote areas of the country by airlifting them to health facilities in emergency rescue operations under the President's Women Upliftment Programme.

Most of the rescued women are from Bajhang, Bajura, Jajarkot, Khotang, Dhading, Sindhupalchowk, Rasuwa, Gorkha, Kalikot, Dolakha, Solukhumbu, Achham, Okhaldhunga, Rukum (East and West), Dolpa, Taplejung, Panchthar, Jajarkot, Salyan, and Baitadi.

The government has been providing air ambulance service to pregnant and post-partum women facing the risk of death for want of emergency medical service in line with the 'Procedure Related to Air Rescue of Pregnant and Post-partum Women of Critical Condition in Remote Areas-2018'.

The procedure aims to provide quality and dependable service to such women living in remote areas where proper medical facilities required for patients are not available.

The MoWCSC said that programme had been effective in protecting the citizens' constitutional right to safe motherhood and reproductive health.

This facility is fully available to women of 30 districts and four districts (only those living in specified places) partially. The air services are procured from government and private airlines under the Public Procurement Act for providing emergency air rescue service to women.

There is a nine-member Air Rescue Coordination Committee led by the chief of Women Empowerment Division at the MoWCSC to coordinate with the enlisted air service providers for the rescue of patients.

Similarly, there is a provision of a five-member Local Recommendation Committee headed by chief of the concerned local level to make recommendations to the ARCC for the rescue of pregnant and post-partum women based on the need and financial condition of the concerned patients.

The women are airlifted to the nearest hospital where necessary medical services are available. At least two family members or caretakers of the patient are also allowed to accompany the patient for support during the rescue operation.

A version of this article appears in the print on October 24, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.