The Union Health Ministry has announced that all necessary health services related to reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescents or RMNCAH+N, should go on in a defined manner in areas declared as containment and buffer zones and that testing is not mandatory for these cases.

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Critical services for women, children, and adolescents should be provided irrespective of their COVID status.

Guidelines

The ministry in its guidelines stated that “In India, with the second-largest global population, the growing epidemic of coronavirus requires that special efforts have to be made to continue the essential routine RMNCAH+N services.” It also clarified that COVID testing is not mandatory for RMNCAH+N service. “ICMR testing guidelines need to be followed.” It has also been mentioned that it is vital to ensure proper health care services are provided for the vulnerable population and should continue during the pandemic. “Critical services for women, children, and adolescents should be provided irrespective of their COVID status,” and there should be no denial in providing these essential facilities.

Recommendations

In its recommendations, the ministry advised that a mother and her newborn should be attended to and looked after together as far as feasible. It has been made clear that breastfeeding must be commenced within an hour of delivery, regardless of the coronavirus status. Although the mother should be wearing a mask as well as practice hand hygiene before feeding the child.

Breastfeeding must be commenced within an hour of delivery, regardless of the coronavirus status.

Services like antenatal and newborn care, immunization, family planning, and adolescent health, among others, are to be administered at different levels, according to the categorisation of containment zones. “Any area exiting a “containment/ buffer zone” can start RMNCAH+N activities as listed in “areas beyond buffer zone” after a minimum gap of 14 days following delisting,” said Union Health Ministry’s advisory, adding that the arrangements for home delivery of folic acid, calcium and zinc tablets, oral rehydration solution sachets, and contraceptives can also happen in containment zones.

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The ministry also pointed out that private sector hospitals can be interested in non-coronavirus important services if the public sectors need some backup. But above all, it has emphasised that precautions should be taken and physical distancing, handwashing, and respiratory hygiene should be kept at all times by the service providers.

Image Credit: Daily Mail

Shreya is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

 

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