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Prenatal Care in India: A Luxury or Right?

Prenatal Care in India

Despite India’s steep economic growth in the recent past, maternal mortality rates continue to remain shockingly high, accounting for 20% of global maternal deaths, as of 2010. While the western and southern states of India show a higher use of maternal care services and account for only 17% of maternal deaths in the country, the northern and eastern states have a long way to go. The difference in quality of health care, especially prenatal care, in rural and urban India is as contrasting as between two different nations; while the urban middle class and high income families have easy access to world class facilities and medical equipment, much of the rural lower class and lower income families are deprived of health care facilities and basic infrastructure and hygiene.

Pregnant women in villages are constantly in danger of losing their babies and even their own lives due to lack of infrastructure in health care. Often, women who go to government-run institutions for abortions are turned away, leaving them helpless. Women in lower income families in urban areas who cannot afford prenatal care in private establishments face similar issues. Another problem can be accessibility; many remote villages are hours away from the closest medical establishment. Women in such villages may be unable to afford the resources to travel to such locations, or their families may not permit them to. Quite often old customs and beliefs in communities disregard the need for immunizations or proper prenatal care in India. Women that turn to prenatal care in India drops as dangerously low as 9% in Uttar Pradesh and only goes as high as 72% in Tamil Nadu, according to statistics from studies done of the year 2005-2006.

Prenatal Care in India

Why is Prenatal Care Important?

Adequate prenatal care, which consists of check-ups and immunizations a health worker provides an expecting mother, ensures a healthy and safe pregnancy. Prenatal care is vital for the physical and mental development of the baby and the good health of the mother. Prenatal care in India includes blood tests to check blood type, Rh factor, anaemia, sexually transmitted diseases, and other factors that may pose a threat to the pregnancy so that steps can be taken to prevent them early on. An expecting mother must get a check-up with a doctor once a month in the first six months and more often during the last trimester of her pregnancy. While ideally, such tests should be done prior to a pregnancy, they are often overlooked even during a pregnancy.

For the mother, prenatal care in India can help monitor diet and weight, prevent diabetes (which pregnant women are likely to develop), high blood pressure. For the unborn baby, a doctor can help prevent abnormalities and issues with mental and physical development and keep a tab on the health of the baby. Development of maternal care in India has been incredibly slow. While the government has provided a programme to help lower income mothers access prenatal care in India, it is not employed efficiently and women all over the country still need to turn to private institutions for maternal care in India. Many women in rural areas are ill informed about maternal health care and do not know that they have to register their pregnancy and start prenatal care check-ups immediately. Moreover, overall maternal health care in India is considered one of the least efficiently run services.

How can these women from lower income families strive to afford quality prenatal care in India? An ideal option is to start a fundraiser on a crowdfunding platform like Impact Guru to help you raise funds from multiple sources and contacts, who can in turn share your cause with their contacts. This growing web will further help you reach a much wider audience than any other method of fundraising.

Studies show that women without prenatal care are seven times more likely to give birth to premature babies, and the baby is five times more likely to die. Yet, due to ignorance and poverty, prenatal care is overlooked in India. One out of every 55 women in India face the risk of maternal death due to the lack of quality maternal health care facilities in India. Moreover, prenatal care is important in determining the baby’s health post birth; issues that seem insignificant can affect the child for her entire life. Prenatal care in India will detect anaemia, thyroid, HIV, and other issues early on so they can be solved before they affect the baby.

Crowdfunding for Maternal Care in India

Pregnant women all over the country continue to give birth to premature babies, babies that suffer from mental health problems, physical development syndromes, autism and so on. These problems are mostly preventable with quality prenatal care. The average amount a woman needs to spend on prenatal care activities not included in the government programme Janani Suraksha Yojana (assuming the programme is efficiently employed), is around Rs 1700 in public health institutions and over double in private institutions (assuming she even has access to one).

Crowdfunding in India over the years has been successful in aiding countless non-profits and individuals with creative ideas, expensive medical bills, etc. have gotten impressive responses from donors, as is the case with Impact Guru’s platform, where you can learn about how crowdfunding works. When approached with the right attitude, crowdfunding can be a convenient and smooth way to raise funds for your prenatal care. It provides for a safe platform your family and friends can contribute on and allows them to share your fundraiser with their contacts so you can receive funds from them as well, growing your network of support.

While crowdfunding in India was practically non-existent a few years ago, today there are multiple platforms you can choose from. The process of creating a fundraiser is simple, safe and reliable. A bit of thought and research into storytelling, images, documents showing adequate proof and consistent activity on social media can go a long way to convince viewers to donate. There are multiple crowdfunding platforms in India to choose from. Impact Guru has raised the highest amount through crowdfunding in India – you can begin your research on their website by reading up on how crowdfunding works and what the process of handling a fundraiser entails. You can look up fundraising tips and tricks on Impact Guru, follow fundraising trends on blogs around the world and follow existing trending fundraisers around the world to familiarize yourself with the concept of crowdfunding, what works with your potential supporters and what doesn’t. Exploring fundraising ideas can give you a push in the right direction and help you learn how to create the most efficient fundraiser, grab the attention of viewers and attract donors.

While women who can afford private hospitals are offered the best prenatal care in India, the rural and lower income population have to suffer the lack of quality prenatal care in Indian government hospitals. This leads to a number of situations: excessive bleeding, infections, pregnancy-induced hypertension, unsafe abortions, etc. Quite often, two women in labour have to share a single bed in government hospitals, owing to the inability of most patients to afford the bills and to lack of infrastructure. Impact Guru has a large history of successful medical crowdfunding on its platform, and this is an ideal option for women from lower income families who can request their families, friends and contacts to contribute towards their prenatal care. With support from family and friends, starting a fundraiser can help raise the funds to afford prenatal care in India, to get regular check-ups with a qualified doctor right from the beginning.

In 2005, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the Janani Suraksha Yojana to combat the high maternal mortality rate in parts of the country and to make sure pregnant women from lower income families could get access to prenatal care in India. Under this programme, expecting mothers are given a certain sum and provisions are made to provide tablets, check-ups and blood transfusions. However, the programme makes no provision for cases like accidents where medical intervention will be necessary. The provisions promised for prenatal care in India are often overlooked. Many women claim that lack of infrastructure and qualified health care workers and unavailability of an ambulance also makes them unwilling to seek help from public institutions. They say that sometimes incentives promised are not delivered. For instance, health care workers may force women to pay for amenities that were supposed to be free of charge under the programme. When the ministry clearly states that one auxiliary nurse midwife is supposed to be assigned to look after eight sub-health centres, quite often they have to take on many more and thus are unable to provide proper guidance and care to all. Some ANMs are forced to make stitches on patients in candlelight as there is no provision for emergency situations where power failures occur.

Owing to such situations, women who cannot afford private institutions and the “luxury” of prenatal care in India prefer to skip it altogether, missing out on a healthy pregnancy and therefore putting themselves and their infants at serious risk. This could cause their infants to suffer from disorders that may negatively affect them for as long as they live. Expecting mothers can turn to crowdfunding to raise the funds they need to afford prenatal care in India.

Take a look at existing and trending fundraisers on Impact Guru on their donation page where many non-profits and individuals have successfully crowdfunded for their cause. You can look through the fundraisers on this page to shape an idea of how to go about crowdfunding for your prenatal care. Impact Guru’s platform allows you to raise funds with your choice of a deadline and goal amount, and you are allowed to terminate the campaign when you wish to and collect the funds, irrespective of the amount you’ve managed to raise. Impact Guru also charges the lowest amount amongst crowdfunding platforms in India. Their platform is specifically meant for non-profits and medical fundraising. You can make sure your fundraising experience is transparent and smooth by reading through Impact Guru’s list of frequently asked questions.

Contrary to common belief (or rather, ignorance) in rural communities, prenatal care is the most effective precaution a woman can take that can not only save her life but also determine her infant’s lifelong health, to prevent a multitude of disorders and diseases from affecting both the infant and the mother herself.

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