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99 Yatra
With hospital doors closed woman delivers baby in the open
10 July 2007

Bhuj: AT a mahila sammelan in Kutch district this March, Chief Minister Narendra Modi had appealed to poor expectant mothers — “to drop a postcard to their brother in Gandhinagar” — in case they had any problem.

Perhaps the chief minister should take note of this particular incident that occurred on Sunday evening in Kutch’s Nakhatrana town. A poor tribal woman, who was in labour, could not receive medical help and was forced to deliver her baby out in the open. Reason being that the government-run Community Health Centre (CHC) was locked, while a trust-run private hospital, specially designated to treat pregnant women belonging to BPL families under the government’s much hyped Chiranjivi scheme, refused to admit her. Even shocking, one of the reasons why she was refused admission was she couldn’t pay Rs 100, the mandatory fee. The woman had to give birth in a secluded, filthy area near a rivulet behind the central bus station in the heart of Nakhatrana town. Himmat Maharaj, president of Manav Seva Samiti, who organised help for Sunita (she is a labourer in the bauxite mines at Dhabana village) said, she left the place soon after the delivery.

According to Maharaj, Sunita had rushed to Nakhatrana, the nearest taluka when she went into labour. Accompanied by 5 to 6 family members, she was first taken to the CHC on the outskirts of Nakhatrana. “This is the biggest government-run health centre in the three talukas of Nakhatrana, Abadasa and Lakhpat in western Kutch. But on finding it locked they went to Dev Ashish Hospital, which is run by a trust. She was refused admission here. By then, her pain had intensified, so the family went behind a rivulet for delivering the chid ,” said Maharaj.

However, Anand Patel, superintendent of the Nakhatrana CHC denied that his centre was locked. “The door of the CHC might be shut, but that was only to prevent dogs from entering the hospital,” said Patel.

But the staff of the private hospital were honest enough to admit that treatment was refused to the pregnant tribal woman. “Our gynaecologist and head of the hospital Dr Tulsidas Patel was not present in the taluka. We cannot handle deliveries without him. Also, she did not have the admission fees of Rs 100 charged on holidays,” a hospital nurse said.

Courtesy: Ahmedabad Newsline - Ahmedabad,India kutchhis globally , from Mumbai

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