The Department of Health and Family Welfare is all set to track every pregnancy in the state, from conception to birth, with the help of an Aadhaar-linked unique ID number.
Every year, Karnataka sees 11 lakh-13 lakh pregnant women. But data pertaining to all of them is not available with the department. Only those who are registered to avail benefits under the Reproductive and Child Health and the BPL category are kept track of.
When the new system is in place, every expectant mother will be given a unique ID number – the RCH (Reproductive and Child Health) number which will be linked to her Aadhaar card. Health Management and Information System (HMIS), a digital initiative under the National Health Mission by the Union Health Department, keeps statistics of pregnancy cases in the state.
However, women getting screened at private scanning centres and private hospitals are mostly out of the record. The state manages to get data for just about 60% of pregnant women, according to sources in the Department of Health and Family Welfare.
The department is in the process of gathering data on RCH and HMIS on a common platform. With system integration, the pregnancies can be traced.
“The idea is to bring down maternal mortality. In the wake of violations under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC and PNDT) Act, there could be cases of sex determinations and hence, abortions.
“The RCH Card will give us details of individual cases. For instance, if a woman has undergone an abortion, there will be supporting medical evidence on why the abortion was carried out,” said Dr Prabhudev Gowda, deputy director, PC and PNDT.
He said the data would also help suggest policy changes to bring down maternal mortality rates in the state.
How does it work?
An expectant mother will be given the RCH ID card with a unique number at the nearest primary health centre. In rural areas, Auxiliary Nurse Midwifery or ASHA workers doing the rounds will give these cards to women. The ID card has to be produced at the time of scanning (irrespective of whether it is a private or government facility) and for further treatment.