Budget crunch hits maternal safety programme

KATHMANDU: Budget crunch has hit the maternal safety programme under which pregnant and lactating women are provided incentives by the government.

More than 100 local levels have applied for additional budget at the Department of Health Services in the last week of the current fiscal year, reasoning they witnessed budget crunch.

The maternal safety programme has been run by the government in a bid to reduce maternal and child mortality. The government had allocated Rs 1.31 billion for this programme for this fiscal year. Owing to the budget crunch, health facilities have been returning the women with their new born without incentives.

Family Health Division under the Department of Health Services has said Rs 200 million was required for the remaining period of the current fiscal year to continue with the incentives.

Currently, Rs 400 is provided to women as motivation incentive to visit the health facilities, while Rs 1,500 is allocated as transportation cost for delivery in the mountainous region, Rs 1,000 in the hilly region and Rs 500 in the Tarai region.

Meanwhile, Division Director Taranath Pokhrel has said time has come to amend Maternal and New Born Safety Programme Work Procedure Guideline 2065 (3rd Amendment 2075) because separate guidelines were required for local and provincial levels. Discussion to amend the guideline is in final phase, he added.