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U’khand High Court Ensures All Expectant Mothers Get Their Due Share Of Care, Tells State To Supply Balanced Diet, Install Silent Observer Devices In Clinics [Read Order]

With India having a high number of women dying every year due to pregnancy-related issues, the Uttarakhand High Court has tried to ensure that every expectant mother in the state gets due care by directing the state government and the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) to keep a record of all pregnant women and ensure that they get balanced diet and undergo all necessary antenatal checks.

The court has also announced that all expectant mothers can now write to the CMO before their date of delivery to make all arrangements at the nearest hospital for a safe delivery.

A bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Lok Pal Singh passed the order while taking a grim view of the incident where a woman was forced to deliver a baby on a suspension bridge in Tyuni in Dehradun’s Chakrata district last year.

The woman had to deliver the baby on the bridge with help of local women as the government medical facility was locked and she could not reach the other hospital due to intense labour pain.

“…a delivery has taken place on the suspension bridge in the interior part of the State. It is unfortunate. This should not happen again. The expectant mothers are required to be removed to the nearest government hospitals for delivery to save their lives. The delay in bringing the expectant mothers to nearest hospitals may prove fatal,” the bench noted.

The court has now passed the following mandatory directions:

  • The Secretary (Health) to the State of Uttarakhand is directed to ensure that in every sonographic & ultrasound diagnostic centre run by the private clinics, silent observer devices are installed within three months from today.
  • The Chief Secretary to the State of Uttarakhand is directed to issue necessary directions to all the diagnostic centres to supply a list of all the expecting mothers to the office of the C.M.O. to determine the ailment of the women. The C.M.O. is also directed to ensure that the exact date of delivery of the expectant mothers be also notified to him.
  • The C.M.O. concerned through his subordinate Officers/ Aanganbari centres shall remain in contact with the expectant mothers one month prior to delivery for group psychological counseling and antenatal checking of haemoglobin, urine albumin and sugar, malaria, VDRL, HIV, blood grouping, screening for GDM using OGTT etc. in all the government hospitals under the Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA).
  • Balanced improved diet shall also be supplied by the state government to all the expectant mothers belonging to Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes and also to the women living below the poverty line, as determined by the dietician within one month from today through Aanganbari centres.
  • It shall be open to all the expectant mothers to send an application to the CMO concerned for making arrangements of safe delivery in the nearest government hospital, if necessary, by transporting expectant mothers to the nearest government hospital by making all the necessary arrangements including free conveyance, lodging and boarding for the expectant mothers belonging to inaccessible/ difficult areas.
  • The state government is directed to make the general public aware of the provisions of the Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prevention & Prohibition) (PC&PNDT) Act.

The order comes on a petition filed for implementation of the PC&PNDT Act, 1994 in Uttarakhand.

The bench noted that in the year 2012, four cases of violation of the PC&PNDT Act (one at Almora and three at Dehradun) were filed in the year 2012 while three cases (one at Haridwar and two at Nainital) were filed in the year 2013.

Read the Order Here

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