(Incorporating eIMA News)
27th February 2016
Editorial (Dr S S Agarwal, Dr K K Aggarwal)
Birth companions allowed during delivery in public health facilities 
IMA has welcomed the innovative move by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare aimed at reducing the maternal mortality ratio and infant mortality rate in the country.

Birth companions will now be allowed during delivery in public health facilities. This step signifies India’s commitment under SDGs to further accelerate initiatives with specific focus on quality parameters of the interventions. 
Birth companions are women who have experienced the process of labor and provide continuous one-to-one support to other women experiencing labor and child birth. The presence of a female relative during labor is a low-cost intervention, which has proved to be beneficial to the women in labor. These women provide emotional support (continuous reassurance), information about labor progress and advice regarding coping techniques, comfort measures (comforting touch, massages, promoting adequate fluid intake and output) and advocacy (helping the woman articulate her wishes to the other). 
Pre-requisites for a birth companion
The birth companion has to be a female relative, preferably one who has undergone the process of labor. 
  • In facilities where privacy protocols are followed in the labor room, the husband of the pregnant woman can be allowed as a birth companion. 
  • She should not suffer from any communicable diseases. 
  • She should wear clean clothes. 
  • She should be willing to stay with the pregnant woman throughout the process of labor. 
  • She should not interfere in the work of hospital staff and the treatment procedures. 
  • She should not attend to other women in the labor room. 
The World Health Organization promotes labor companionship as a core element of care for improving maternal and infant health (WHO 2002). The regional plan of action for maternal and neonatal health care includes the monitoring of maternal and fetal well-being, and encourages the presence of a companion to provide support during labor and delivery as one of the interventions to improve neonatal health. A trained birth companion contributes to reduced tension and shortened labor, increased mother's feelings of control, decreased interventions and cesareans. It also enhances the partner's participation, improves outcome for the newborn, facilitates parent/infant bonding and decreases postpartum depression while increasing positive feelings about the birth experience. 

Robert Bradley in 1947 gave the woman's partner an active, major role (i.e., husband-coached childbirth) and emphasized an extremely natural approach, with few or no drugs and little medical intervention during labor and delivery. The Bradley Method emphasizes that birth is a natural process; mothers are encouraged to trust their body and focus on diet and exercise throughout pregnancy; and it teaches couples to manage labor through deep breathing and the support of a partner or labor coach.
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IMA welcomes Bio Toilets in Indian Trains 
New Delhi, February 26, 2016: All trains in India should have eco-friendly bio-toilets. They are based on the bio-digester concept of the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). 
Bio-toilets would ensure that there was no bad smell in toilets and no infestation of cockroaches and flies, besides eliminating the ordeal of removing human waste, which is acidic in nature and the cause of corrosion in coaches as well as the track.
Under the bio-toilet concept of the DRDO, the bio-digester tank in every toilet is filled with inoculums containing four types of bacteria. The water trap system in the toilet prevents air from getting into the tank, anaerobic bacteria processes the human waste in seven chambers in the tank and the methane gas is allowed to escape into the air.
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IMA Updates
IMA Polio Dates
  • April 1st: tOPV would not be available after this date.
  • April 11th: bOPV would be available in private market but it is not to be opened or used before 25th April.
  • April 25: IMA Polio Switch Day, when tOPV would be completely withdrawn and replaced by bOPV in both routine immunization and polio campaigns.
  • 9th May: IMA National Validation Day when India would be declared free of tOPV. 

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