In a bid to promote the girl child, the Raigarh district administration in Chhattisgarh has come up with a unique initiative, under which women who give birth to girls at government hospitals, are given greeting cards that carry the message- ‘Save and educate girl child’. Besides the greeting cards, which also carry the pictures of those women and their newborn daughters, their photographs are also put up on the display boards named ‘Mahtari-Noni’ (mother and girl in Chhattisgarhi dialect) at these hospitals for a month for the people to see. Talking to PTI, Raigarh District Collector Shammi Abidi said, “The initiative was taken up under the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ (BBBP) Scheme at 62 primary/community health centres in the district to encourage the birth of girl child as well as institutional deliveries.” From August this year, the district administration started giving colourful and attractive greeting cards to the women giving birth to baby girls in these hospitals. “The cards contain photographs of a woman and her baby girl along with message- ‘Save and educate girl child’,” she said. Similarly, the photographs of the women and their newborn daughters delivered in the government hospitals are also put up on the display boards installed on the premises, for a period of one month from the date of delivery.
For this purpose,the ‘Mahtari-Noni’ display boards were created, she said. “We have done it so that a woman, who gives birth to a baby girl feels proud. We have been receiving wonderful responses and we are thinking of extending the initiative to private hospitals too,” Abidi said. Raigarh is the only district from Chhattisgarh that was included in the list of 100 districts with low CSR (child sex ratio) for the implementation of BBBP Scheme in the country for creating awareness over the issue. As per the official statistics, the CSR has been improving in Raigarh after the implementation of the BBBP scheme, while the institutional deliveries have reached up to 97 per cent in the district.
According to the 2011 census, the CSR in the district was 947 girls for every 1,000 boys, but it declined to 918:1000 in 2014-15. After various steps taken under BBBP scheme in the past two years, the CSR improved to 928 in 2015-16 and reached 936 in 2016-17. Similarly, the infant mortality rate (IMR) decreased to 48 in 2016-17 from 65 in 2011, while the maternal mortality rate (MMR) dropped to 180 from 293 during the same period. Lauding the initiatives taken up in Raigarh, state Chief Secretary Vivek Dhand has directed to replicate it in Balod, Janjgir-Champa, Jashpur, Kabeerdham and Narayanpur districts in the coming days.