In a shocking display of apathy, two women in labour who were rushed to public health centres in their respective villages in Karnataka, found that they had no help at hand. The women, who'd each gone into labour late on Monday night, found empty hospitals with no doctors or nurses to help them deliver their babies.
Both villages are in Vijayapura district of Karnataka.
At around 9.45 pm on Monday night, Sashikala Biradar, a resident of Vijayapura districtâ€™s Jigajegani village went into labour and her family members rushed her to the village PHC.
To the familyâ€™s dismay, there was nobody at the PHC. The family members searched the entire building only to realise that there were no doctors or nurses to help their daughter when she was in extreme pain.
Sashikalaâ€™s father immediately alerted some local residents staying near the PHC who then called the taluk panchayat member Ravidas Jadav.
With no ambulance available, four young men - Ravi, Rajiv, Girish and Manju - arranged a car in which they rushed Sashikala to the PHC in Inchagi village, a few kilometres away from Jigajegani.
Another shocker awaited the family. The PHC in Inchagi, too, had no doctors.
â€śBy the time Sashikala was rushed to the Inchagi public health centre, I had also arrived at the hospital. There were no doctors. We managed to find one nurse, who very rudely told us to find a midwife to help with the childbirth as she was in no condition to offer help. We reprimanded her but it was of no use. Finally, we managed to locate two midwives,â€ť Ravidas Jadav told TNM.
The labour room was locked in the Inchagi village PHC. Ravidas and the four young men broke open the lock and took Sashikala inside.
â€śThe mid-wives told us that so far there were no complications. It was around 12.00 am on Tuesday when another woman, Pushpa Rathod, was rushed into the PHC. She too was in labour and was bleeding severely. Although Sashikalaâ€™s labour went smoothly, Pushpa became too weak and the mid-wives said that it would be too dangerous to deliver the baby without a doctor,â€ť Ravidas said.
The roads connecting the villages to the district hospital are too dangerous to cross and the local residents, who were helping the women, feared that Pushpa may not survive the long journey to the hospital, he added.
â€śSomehow the midwives managed to get Pushpa to deliver the baby. Later on Tuesday, we got a doctor from Vijayapura to have a look at Pushpa. He has told her to stay in bed for 48 hours and has directed the nurse regarding her care,â€ť Ravidas said.
On Wednesday, Ravidas wrote to the Health Minister, requesting him to dispatch staff for the two PHCs immediately.
â€śWithout the four youth and the midwives, this ordeal would have been extremely difficult for Sashikala and Pushpa. This level of negligence on the health departmentâ€™s behalf is unpardonable,â€ť Ravidas said.