DHADING, Oct 21: With 'warm bag' program no more receiving budget from the center, maternal safety has been affected in the district. According to government health officials, the bag that would consist of sanitary pads, medicines and warm clothes for baby and mother is highly in demand whereas the center has not been sending budget for the program.
“The warm bag program was very beneficial for new babies and mothers in rural villages. It was literally saving lives,” said Jiwan Kumar Malla. He added that lack of distribution of the new materials has revived the same old practice of wrapping newborns in torn, dirty and septic piece of cloths in the villages.
For better health of mother and babies, the government had introduced warm bag program three years ago. According to Malla, irrespective of whether the families were aware of the importance of using brand new and anti-septic items for newborns and nursing mothers, increasing number of locals were using those things. However, with the halt in the program in the recent days, health of nursing mothers and babies is on stake.
“In rural areas, people come to health posts in the same old cloth. They would have happily used the new clothes after delivery of babies as they would get that them free of cost. If we don't distribute such bags, they will use the same old stuffs,” he explained.
Malla informed that the budget for the program has been stopped from this fiscal year. The kit used to contain two pairs of dress, cap, socks and thin blanket for baby in the bag.
Similarly, for mothers, the bag would offer long skirt (petikot), cotton sari and blouse, among other essential items.
“We have sent a letter regarding the issue to the Directorate of Regional Health, but they have not responded yet,” Malla said. “It is not fair to stop budget for such program which was really beneficial to the health of mothers and babies. Just when growing number of families were being aware of the use of clean clothes post delivery, this has been stopped,” he lamented.
The government-provided 'warm bag' would cost no more than Rs 700, Malla further informed. “If money is provided to nursing mothers, it might be misused. But, giving such clothes would greatly benefit them,” he stated.