Unhappy with the implementation of the National Rural Health Mission, the Naga Mother’s Assocaition (NMA) – an apex body of women affiliated with different tribes in the State – has called for a full fledged inquiry into the rural health scheme to root out the deficiencies, shortcomings and ensure a transparent and effective health delivery service.
In a memorandum submitted to Governor of Nagaland, Nikhil Kumar – a copy of which was also sent to the Union Health and Family Welfare Secretary here – the NMA has expressed serious concerns over the functioning of the NRHM in the State and claimed they had documentary evidence to prove the allegations.
The Inquiry Committee must include at least two expert members, nominated by the NMA. The president of the NMA is supposed to be a member of the State Health Mission. However, only one meeting has been convened last year to obtain approval for partnerships, with no time given to discuss serious concerns. Till date, many district Tribe units of the NMA are unaware, that they are members of the District Health Society as they have not been invited for such meetings.
There are glaring anomalies, financial irregularities and conflict of interests in the implementation, the memorandum said, adding that according to the Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram scheme, free referral transport is to be provided to the expectant mother before and after delivery from her home to the health unit and back. However it is learnt that transportation charges are being realized or claimed.
The NMA has received reports of preferential payments under Janani Suraksha Yojana in Health units/district hospitals on delivery of babies, whereby mothers giving birth to male child were paid higher than those giving birth to the girl child, Rosemary Dzuvichu, convenor of the NMA told The Hindu over telephone from Kohima. “The NMA’s concerns and objections on such preferential payments under JSY were highlighted in a national seminar organized by the North East Network in December last at Kohima in the presence of Planning Commission Member Dr. Syeda Hameed and the Secretary, National Commission for Women, New Delhi, Dr. Anita Agnihotri. When such anomalies were brought out by the media, the Department of Health and Family Welfare, immediately threatened the NMA by serving a two days’ Show Cause.
“Such threats and intimations to cover up illegal activities under NRHM have been viewed seriously by the NMA, as the Department has failed to inquire into such violations of human rights of mothers and babies and instead has resorted to defamation of the NMA and threatening our freedom of speech. Details of preferential payments and names of hospitals have been verbally informed to the Principal Director, Department of H&FW but the NMA reserves the right to protect the identity of patients to avoid further harassment by the Department on mothers who have been discriminated with such payment, Ms Dzuvichu said.
Original Story: Naga Mothers Association demands full-fledged inquiry into NRHM