'Rooftop' delivery in UP

Officials in the Uttar Pradesh (UP) health department may be claiming to spend millions to ensure safe deliveries in government healthcare centres, but the deliveries, especially in the winters, take place not in the labour rooms but on rooftops under the sun.

Relatives of Sunita Devi (name changed), who was into labour and was admitted to Bhatni primary healthcare centre in Deoria district, were shocked when they found out that she had been taken to the rooftop for delivery instead of the labour room on Friday.

As they could not go to the rooftop after being refused permission by the auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM), they approached a senior doctor. The doctor, according to reports, sent a pharmacist and the woman was later shifted to the labour room. It was also surprising that there was no lady doctor there.

“The ANM and a helper were with Sunita. They were taking care of her. There was no lady doctor,” alleged Sujit Kumar, Sunita’s husband.

The ANM came up with a bizarre argument when queried about the incident: “It was very cold inside. There was bright sunshine on the outside. The woman also wanted to go out into the sun.”

Medical superintendent Dr N P Singh said he was busy in a meeting and had no information about the incident. “I will order an investigation and the guilty will be punished,” he said.

The sorry state of affairs in government hospitals in UP is an open secret. Barely a few months ago, it was found that the ward boys and sweepers were giving stitches and injections to critically wounded people at Bulandshahar district hospital.

The hospital administration, quite brazenly, said that sometimes ward boys did give stitches as they had been trained for the same.

A few months ago, ANMs were found to be engaged in delivery of babies under candlelight as there was no electricity and the generator was out of order at a community health care centre in Barabanki district.

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