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Wage Compensation of Rs 12,000 Brings Respite for Pregnant Tea Workers

Dispur to give wage compensation of Rs 12,000 to each beneficiary

STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, Sept 13: For several decades’ pregnant tea workers in Assam are working hard to earn money to meet their baby’s needs. Such a burden takes its toll in the nutritional well being of both mother and child and which often results in high maternal and infant mortality rates in tea gardens. Expressing concern over such a serious health issue, the Assam Government has decided to pay Rs 12,000 to each pregnant tea worker so that she does not have to work during her pregnancy period.

State Health and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma while announcing the scheme on Thursday said the scheme will be officially launched on October 1. He said such monetary benefits will do away with the burden on pregnant workers to work to earn money as well as worry about the well-being of the unborn. The scheme will help in reducing maternal and infant mortality rates in gardens, he said.

Anemia and maternal mortality for Adivasi women working on tea plantations in Assam is unusually high. Assam has the highest maternal mortality rate in India, with over 300 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. About 50 percent of pregnant women aged between 15 and 49 are anemic, a leading contributor to maternal mortality.

Sarma while launching the State Run Free Laboratory Service under Chief Minister’s Free Diagnostic Services Programme at Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra here on Thursday morning said that the present government is making almost all kinds of medical investigations including CT Scan, X-Ray, microbiology and pathology tests free of cost at district and health centres across the State.

Under the Chief Minister’s Free Diagnostic Services Programme launched last year, Sarma said nearly 130 State-run hospitals and healthcare centres conducted 9 lakh plus blood tests, 4 lakh X-Rays and 1.5 lakh CT Scan in the last one year. He said the Health department on Thursday extended the CM’s Scheme to 946 healthcare centres and hospitals in the State to offer free diagnostic services to cover larger section of the populace.

The Minister said the prime objective of the Chief Minister’s Free Diagnostic Services Programme is to prevent patients from spending huge amount of out-of- pocket expenditure. ‘Out-of-Pocket Expenditure’ includes the expenses that the patient or the family pays directly to the health care provider, without a third-party (insurer or State). He said patients and their families face major crisis when they have to incur such ‘Out-of-Pocket Expenditure’ and many of them get into debt burden.

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