While the nation rages about the inhumanity displayed in the Jalandhar Civil hospital case – a 5 day old was taken off the incubator because her father couldn’t arrange Rs 200 – the fact is that under the Union Government’s Janani Shishu Suraksha Yojna (JSSY) – the father wasn’t supposed to pay a penny. This a day after the Punjab CM directed all neonatal services will be free (it already was supposed to be). The hospital staff claimed they didn’t know anything about the scheme. In fact they were informed of the scheme only on Friday after the new-born’s plight came to light.

Launched in June 20122, the JSSY dictates that all government hospitals will provide free delivery and further treatment of the mother and infant. Sources in the health department are of the opinion that this isn’t an isolated case and various hospitals across the state were unaware of the scheme. “We were unaware of any such instructions and these were never circulated in the hospital. Not only us, even our concerned department, especially where the money is deposited, was also unaware of these instructions,” said nurse Jeevan Kanta in presence of other nurses.

Under the scheme the hospital is supposed to provide delivery services and also free drugs, food, essential diagnostics for three days in case of normal delivery and seven days in case of caesarean section.

The scheme also provides free transport from home to hospital and then back to home, free provision of blood and exemption from all kinds of user charges. These entitlements continue for a child for 30 days after birth at a government hospital.

Meanwhile nurses of the hospital threatened to go on strike if any action is taken against them. They are of the opinion that they were only doing their duty.


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