Women in rural areas deprived of pregnancy allowance

Published On: June 27, 2019 09:04 AM NPT By: Krishna Oli

BAJURA, June 27: The government has adopted a policy to provide pregnancy allowance and warm bags to those who undergo delivery at health posts. But, nursing mothers in rural areas have been deprived of this facility although the government has been promising an additional amount and transportation allowance to them immediately after delivery. 

This policy has not been implemented in Bajura and other Himalayan districts. The government has allocated Rs 3000 as transportation allowance and an additional Rs 800 if pregnant women undergo regular check-up for four times. 

In contrary to the government claims, nursing mothers complain that they have had to return empty handed after delivery.

Nursing mothers also used to be given safety and hygiene kits. Though written on paper, this hasn't actually been practiced. Since mid-March, no mother who went to health posts for delivery has been granted the allowance, according to Tribeni Municipality's health section in-charge Chiranjivi Shah.

According to Shah, the three health posts in the municipality are yet to distribute more than Rs 500,000 to the intended group. Though the amount was consistently distributed until mid-March, the department has been unable to do so after the funds were used up. 

“If we do not receive additional budget for this program by the end of this fiscal year, the probability of mothers who delivered after mid-March not receiving their allowance will be high,” Shah said.

Likewise, more than Rs 750,000 and 50 warm bags haven't been provided to nursing mothers in Khaptad Chededaha Rural Municipality, according to health section deputy in-charge Ramesh Bahadur Oli. 

According to Oli, those coming to the health post earlier in the fiscal year were given the amount but after the limited funds were used up, the allowance could no longer be distributed. 

There are five health posts in the rural municipality. Since July 17 last year, altogether 337 women delivered in health posts. 

Kada Health Post is yet to distribute the promised amount of Rs Rs 110,000 to those mothers who gave birth at the public health center.

Likewise,  Jayabageshwari Health Post is yet to distribute Rs 55,000, Dogadi Health Post owes Rs 200,000, Gudukhati has to distribute Rs 115,000 and Aatichaur Health Post Rs 260,000. 

The health posts at the local level have complained that the remaining budget hasn't been released despite informing the concerned ministry and the provincial government. 

This is a problem in all nine local units in the district. The local levels say they alone cannot manage the amount, and the grant amount from the provincial government isn't sufficient. 

“Many come to the health post everyday and complain, but we are simply helpless,” Nirmala Bam, who works at Jayabageshwari Health Post, told Republica. 

All the local governments have already submitted letters in writing to the concerned authorities. The letters have also been sent to the Regional Directorate. Majority of them complain that their demands have gone unheard. 

Budhiganga Municipality has, however, notified that the remaining budget was received just recently. The municipality had asked for Rs 800,000 but received Rs 700,000.

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