Kathmandu, February 19:

The number of women seeking hospital services during delivery at Paropkar

Maternity Hospital at Thapathali has gone up, thanks to the government’s initiative to provide free maternity services in all government hospitals.

According to Santi Baidya, chief medical record officer at the hospital, 1,746 delivery cases were recorded in the hospital in between January 14 and to February 11. The number is up by 101 from the number in between December 16 to January 13. Among the 1,746 delivery cases, 100 had hired personal cabins for the service.

She said the government started providing Rs 1,000 as transportation cost for the women seeking hospital services during delivery, for up to two deliveries,since November last year. Besides the incentive, the government has now been providing the services and medicines for free of cost since mid-January.

She attributed the rise in number of women seeking hospital services during delivery to a rise in awareness among the women about the free service and incentives.

The government’s initiative is aimed at reducing maternal and child mortality rates and achieving the Millennium Development Goals on health by 2015.

Dr Sheela Varma, director of the hospital, said the programme has been effective as it has been able to draw more women from poor and middle class families to the hospitals. She said the rise in the delivery cases in the hospital was a positive indicator.

The free service is also available in district hospitals, primary health care centres, health posts and sub-health posts.

The free maternity service was launched by the Ministry of Health and Population on January 14.