Health & Family Welfare dept bags Skoch award for 'waiting hut' project

Kolkata: The state Health and Family Welfare department has bagged the Skoch award (Governance Gold category), for its 'waiting hut' project for pregnant women. The award was conferred at a function in New Delhi on Thursday.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted in this connection on Friday: "I am very happy and proud to share a wonderful development. Bangla's Health and Family Welfare Department has won the Skoch Award (Governance Gold category) for its project on waiting huts for pregnant women. This honour was conferred in New Delhi on August 29. Congratulations to the department and its personnel for the achievement."

She further tweeted: "Our government has won several Skoch Awards in the past, including the Skill Gold award for our Utkarsh Bangla project earlier this year. In fact, Bangla won the highest number of Skoch awards for good performances in various areas in 2018."

'Waiting hut' is a unique intervention in which pregnant women from inaccessible and remote areas of Bengal are accommodated 7-10 days before delivery in waiting huts, which are situated in the vicinity of the delivery points. The women are provided with free medicines, diets, diagnostics and referral services. Twelve such huts are operational in the Sunderbans and other far flung areas.

Despite being the fourth most populous state in the country, Bengal has managed to bring down its Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) from 141/1,00,000 live births to 101/1,00,000 live births and has raised the institutional delivery considerably from 88% to 98%.

The waiting hut initiative is consistently contributing towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goal 3.

Bengal is the only state in the country where free services are given to the patients in state-run healthcare establishments, from the Block Primary Health Centres to the district hospitals and six hospitals in Kolkata.

It may be mentioned that heart and kidney transplantations, which cost lakhs of rupees in private healthcare establishments, are done free of cost here. Organ donation has taken the form of a movement in Bengal.

The waiting huts have increased the confidence of pregnant women living in the far-flung areas, in institutional delivery. In case of complicated pregnancies, the huts are providing exceptional service.

The Health and Family Welfare department will set up six more waiting huts in near future.

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