About 67,000 women die in India every year due to pregnancy related complications. About 13 lakh infants die within one year of birth. Out of 9 lakh newborns that die within 4 weeks of birth, about 7 lakh die within the first week of their birth. The first 28 days of infancy period are very important for children. Both maternal and infant deaths can be reduced by ensuring timely access to public health facilities without any burden of out of pocket expenses.
The launch of Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram on June 1, 2011 signals to huge leap forward in the quest to make “Health for All” a reality. It invokes a new approach to healthcare, placing for the first time, utmost emphasis on entitlements and elimination of out of pocket expenses for both pregnant women and neonates. The initiative entitles all pregnant women delivering in public health institutions to absolutely free and no-expense delivery. All expenses relating to delivery in a public institution are borne by the government. Under this initiative, a pregnant woman is entitled to free transport from home to the government health facility. Entitlement includes free drugs and consumables, free diagnostic, free blood, free diet for the duration of a woman’s stay in the facility. Similar entitlements have been put in place for all sick newborns accessing public health institutions for healthcare till 30 days after birth. They are entitled to free treatment besides free transport, both ways and between facilities in case of a referral.
JSSK is estimated to benefit more than one crore pregnant women and newborns every year both in urban and rural areas. It supplements the cash assistance given to a pregnant woman under Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY). JSSK will encourage pregnant women to deliver at public health institutions. It will empower service providers working at the health facilities in providing quality ante-natal, intra-natal and post-natal services at the institutions. This initiative will also help in reducing both maternal and infant mortality and morbidity.
While Rs. 1437 crores were allocated to the states for implementation of free entitlements under JSSK during 2011-12, a total of Rs. 2050.78 crores were allocated during 2012-13.