Free blood to pregnant women during delivery in a move to reduce financial burden to their families.

KATHMANDU: Here is good news for pregnant mothers.

Family Health Division (FHD) under the Ministry of Health and Population is set to provide pregnant women with free blood during delivery in a move to reduce financial burden to their families.

The programme aims to provide free blood during the delivery to reduce the financial burden and maternal mortality rate of the pregnant women, FHD director Dr Sinendra Raj Upreti said.

In the first phase, the programme will be launched across the country except for Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) and other bigger municipalities.

The names of other municipalities are yet to be sorted out.

“Budget crunch is preventing the government from providing free blood to the KMC and other bigger municipalities in the first phase,” Upreti said.

The division has allocated Rs 20 lakhs for the programme this year.

All delivery services, including postnatal and antenatal care, for pregnant women have been free until now except for blood, said the director.

The government also provides cash incentives to mothers attending postnatal and antenatal care at health institutions.

The pregnant women, who have availed themselves of all antenatal services, get Rs 400 and Rs 500, Rs 1000 and Rs 1500 as postnatal care incentive in Tarai, Hilly and Mountain districts, respectively under the Aama programme.

The demand for blood is very high during the delivery and the pressure is higher with anemic patients.

Along with the financial help, the programme also targets to bring down maternal mortality. According to Nepal Health Demographic Survey 2006, the maternal mortality rate is 281 per 100,000 live births, where the Millennium Development Goal for 2015 is 134 per one lakh.

Upreti said,” The blood will be supplied to the patients on recommendation of the medical personnel.”

Meanwhile, the government is learnt to be working with Central Blood Transfusion Service (Blood Bank) to make blood easily available.

Blood Bank deputy director, Rishi Khanal, said the bank is positive about helping FDH with the programme.

At present, we are working on developing the guidelines and strategy to operate the programme effectively, added Khanal.

The blood bank charges Rs 525 per unit from patients for services that include tests for HIV, Hepatitis B and C, syphilis, group testing, blood bag and transfusion.LAXMI MAHARJAN,THT

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