It's a girl! This doc will waive maternity fee

It's a girl! This doc will waive maternity fee

He started as a lone ranger a year ago and today nearly 3,000 doctors from the interiors of Maharashtra are with him fighting social biases and prejudices against girl child.

A silent hero, Dr Ganesh Rakh, running Medicare Hospital Foundation Trust in the Hadapsar suburb of Pune, does not charge any fees if the infant delivered is a girl. Till date in over 144 deliveries, both normal and caesarian, maternity charges were not only waived off but the entire hospital celebrates the birth of the girl child by distributing sweets in the hospital.

Talking over the phone from Pune, Dr Rakh told Deccan Herald that female foeticide “is rampant because regressive social norms are not only anti-women but are even anti-girl child. As a medical professional I have seen the torture that a mother undergoes when she comes to know that she has delivered a girl."

It was this mental trauma of the mother and the bias that a girl child faces even as she opens her eyes in the world that made him take a decision to waive off all maternity fees if the child born was a female. “Over the years I have been noticing this demeaning and degenerate behaviour. It is quite disturbing. Thus last year on Saviritbai Phule's birth anniversary on January 3, I took a decision amidst all opposition.”

Dr Rakh, son of a labourer, in a bid to help the poorer sections of society, in 2007 set up a 25-bed Medicare General and Maternity Hospital. Initially he received a luke-warm response from his gynaecologists and paediatricians. " I told them the hospital will bear the expenses of neo-natal care. And they were quite sceptical whether I would be able to run the hospital in such a manner,” he added.

But the impact of the emotional trauma of the about-to deliver woman was too deep on his psyche. " And it is not just me who has witnessed how relatives thronging the hospital on D-day, hug each other when a boy is born...and disappear when a girl is born.
Even other doctors see it everyday in maternity wards of hospitals. The tension on the pregnant woman for nine months is so severe and acute that you can actually see it in the fluctuations of her haemoglobin and blood pressure."

Dr Rakh’s silent efforts and persistence towards altruistic goals won over other doctors and soon they also decided to join hands with him. "After the word trickled out, my batch-mates and doctors working in districts like Beed, Ahmednagar, Solapur and other interiors wrote to me and said that they will stop carrying out procedures like indiscriminate sex-determination tests or unwarranted medical termination of pregnancy. And the numbers of doctors in this long haul is growing every day."

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