The so-called KCR kit has 16 items for the mother and the newborn baby. (Express Photo)
Mamidla Jyothi, 24, who delivered her first child last Wednesday at the Sangareddy government hospital, displayed a green coloured briefcase when asked if she received what the Telangana government calls the KCR Kit. “The baby soaps, oil, powder, and the mosquito net alone would cost over Rs 500 outside. I don’t have to worry about it for the next couple of months as I have them in the kit,’’ Jyothi said.
The kit, which has a baby mattress, baby soap, oil, talcum powder, mosquito net, toys, napkins, diapers, two pairs of clothes, and two handloom sarees for the mother, is given free of cost to new mothers. It also comes with monetary help — Rs 13,000 (in four instalments) for a female child and Rs 12,000 in case of a male child.
The whole kit costs Rs 2,100 for the state government but it is a crucial reason why institutional deliveries in government hospitals have gone up by 22 per cent over the last 30 months. Since its launch on June 2, 2017, 19,42,630 pregnant women have registered themselves to avail the benefits of the KCR Kit.
“The quality of public healthcare given by Telangana Government has improved a lot,’’ said Finance Minister T Harish Rao during his budget speech recently, adding that Rs 6,186 crore was being allocated to the health sector to implement many other health schemes.
Health Minister Etela Rajender told The Indian Express that the scheme has helped reduce infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate, and female foeticide while ensuring that mothers remain healthy and get nutritious food at the hospital.
“The KCR kits are proving to be a boon for the pregnant women hailing from economically underprivileged families. The items provided for free are expensive when purchased outside; so it is a big relief to the mothers. The scheme also tested the capacities and capabilities of government hospitals, primary and community health centres as more and more women started coming to government facilities for delivery, but we scaled it up and also recruited a lot of staff to ensure it goes on smoothly,’’ Rajender said. Till the end of February, over 7 lakh units have been distributed.
As part of the KCR kits scheme, Jyothi received the first instalment of Rs 3,000 when she registered her pregnancy at the government hospital six months ago and was given two antenatal check-ups and iron and folic acid tablets free of cost.
On Wednesday, she also became eligible to receive (via direct bank transfer) Rs 5,000 as she delivered a girl child. Jyothi will receive Rs 2,000 as the third instalment when she takes her child for the first immunisation at the age of three-and-half months, and another Rs 3,000 when she takes the child for measles vaccine at nine months.
“The pre-delivery registration helps us in tracking and monitoring the pregnant woman’s health. By giving the stipend in instalments we are also ensuring that the children are immunised,’’ the health minister said.