At Sulochna Paritah’s house in Khera Rasalpur in Kota in Rajasthan, cheerfulness abounds. The 30-year-old is cradling a month-old baby girl. Her other two girls, Harshita and Madhuri, are 12 and six-year old. Even though the husband, who has studied until grade 12 and works as a tailor in Kota, does not earn more than Rs 4,000 a month and Sulochna cannot like her urban counterparts snack on three plates of fruit every day, the income is enough to provide her a diet of milk, dalia and methipalak dal.
The first two children were delivered in Khaitoon hospital, but the family had to incur extra expenses for transport. Not this time though. The Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) Sahyogini, Dwarika, paid regular visits to the family during Sulochna’s pregnancy. An ASHA is required to pay seven visits after a pregnancy has been identified and registered with the mother and child tracking system. When Sulochna was due, a private van which is leased by the government was summoned and she was rushed to Community Health Centre. Generally, either a 108 (ambulance) is dispatched by the government or a private van. The hospital pays the van in the latter case
Photo by: Sayantoni Palchoudhuri
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