As part of efforts to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates at the local level, Sitganga Municipality in Argakanchi has initiated free door-to-door health screenings for pregnant women.
The program launched on January 3rd and aims to reach every nook and cranny of the largest local unit in the country in terms of coverage.
“Some wards of the municipality are geographically remote and not all wards are connected to the road network,” said Gita Bart, deputy mayor of the municipality. “Most of the women do not have access to medical care because there is no proper medical service in the village.”
One of the beneficiaries of this service, Saraswati Poudel of Suwarnakhal, Ward 1, is eight months pregnant. Last week, a health worker showed up at her door accompanied by a representative of the people on her ward.
“I was surprised and very happy to see them. They did the tests, they did the ultrasounds,” says Poudel. “The doctor advised me on the importance of a balanced diet, safe pregnancy procedures, safe delivery, and care for the baby after delivery.It was my first experience receiving medical services at home.”
Previously, she visited Butwal once and the local health center four times for antenatal check-ups. According to her, most women in her village do not go to the hospital for check-ups due to poverty.
“I’ve spent a lot of money on tests, checkups and consultants,” she said. “So this service gave me and the other women in the village a sense of security.”
The medical team at the Tada Primary Medical Center in District 3 of the municipality, consisting of Dr. Svekcha Sharma, nurse Sirjana Ghimire, and health workers Damodar Dakar and Lakshman Pandey, collected information on pregnant women and Visiting villages to provide medical services.
The municipality has 14 wards, and so far the team has examined 14 pregnant women in ward 1. 23 people in 2 wards. 11 people in 4 wards. 13 people in the 5th ward. 27 people in the 6th district. 17 people in Ward 7. 13 people in the 8th ward. 11 people in the 9th ward. 18 people in 10 wards.
“We check the health of pregnant women and fetuses, give nutritional advice and perform video x-rays,” said Ghimire. “We follow up with her every three months. Before the program started, pregnant women were obliged to go to Butwal for a check-up by a specialist.”
According to Ghimire, the health team briefed pregnant women on the importance of exercise during and after pregnancy and asked them to avoid junk food.
Deputy Mayor Bert said, “Women with poor financial conditions can’t afford to visit hospitals for follow-up tests, putting them at higher risk for both mother and child.” “The municipality has allocated funds for this program and will continue to do so.”