NEW DELHI (Web Desk) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called on doctors to give up 12 days a year to treating poor, pregnant women free of charge.

With India facing a shortage of doctors and public hospitals, the premier urged private practitioners to dedicate one day a month to helping pregnant women in rural areas, who often die in childbirth due to poor access to healthcare, Indian media reported.

“Can my doctor friends do one thing? On the 9th of every month, if poor, expectant mothers come to you, can you please treat them, care for them and provide medicines to them for free?” Modi told a cheering crowd at a mass rally in northern Uttar Pradesh state.

At least 174 women die of pregnancy-related causes in India for every 100,000 live births, compared with just 14 in the United States.