Saving girl child has become a mission for this doctor

She does not charge fee from mothers delivering girl children in her hospital

Saving girl child has become a mission for this doctor

Dr Shipra Dhar Srivastava, a trained gynaecologist in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi town, was always saddened by the desolate look on the faces of the couple after the birth of a girl child. Srivastava, who runs a hospital at Phadia locality in Varanasi, seldom found couple happy after the birth of girl child, happy.

“It was as if they have lost something precious as if they have been robbed. There was no celebration at all,” recalled Srivastava, who passed out from the prestigious Banaras Hindu University medical college. “The shock at the birth of a girl child used to be more if the baby was born through the Caesarian section as the delivery charges would be more in comparison to a normal delivery,” she
remarked.

“At that moment I always used to think that wish I could do something to make them happy. But my efforts to make them understand that a boy or a girl doesn’t matter and both are same always proved futile,” she told Deccan Herald.

At that time, Srivastava’s husband Manoj Kumar Srivastava, who is also a doctor, came up with a suggestion. “My husband came out with a unique idea. He suggested waiver of delivery charges whenever a girl child was born,” she said.

“The couples as well their family members would always crib that they had spent so much money and what did they get in return? A girl,” Srivastava reminisced her experience.

She said the idea sounded unattractive to her, at least initially. “How will I survive if delivery charges are waived in the event of birth of a female child? I may well be out of business within a few days,” she recalled her fears at that time.

“The idea, however, sunk in a little later. I felt I could do my bit in saving the girl child and maintain the declining sex ratio,” Srivastava said.

And in August this year, the idea turned into a reality and initiative to save the girl child was launched. “Beti hai to shrishti hai” (if there is daughter there is the world) became her motto.

She said that since August this year the couples are not charged for the birth of a girl child. However, she charges a nominal fee for the Caesarian delivery, she added.
Srivastava said  she planned to waive the Caesarian delivery charges in the days to come.

“Yes. It hurts me a lot financially. At times, I am short of money to run the hospital. But, one is bound to experience difficulties while doing something for society,” she said.

She is trying to persuade a few others to take up a similar initiative. “I am in talks with other doctors and trying to convince them to do their bit for saving the girl child,” she said.

Srivastava was trying to rope in drug manufacturers. “The initiative will get a big boost if the pharma companies start providing medicines free of charge,” she said. She provides medicines free in deserving delivery cases.

In the last few months, she has ensured delivery of 14 girl children free of charge. “I know this is too little. There is a need to do much more. The mindset has to be changed if we have to successfully save the girl child,” she pointed out.

With the help of her husband, she plans to hold camps in rural areas to
sensitise people on the issue of girl child. “We have to reach rural masses and
create an awareness there,” she said.

Besides, Srivastava also teaches poor girls and bears their educational expenses. Currently, she is teaching 12 girls. “These girls do not have  resources to
attend the schools and receive formal education.

Now they are attending school,” she said. They all lived in her neighbourhood and their parents struggled to lead a decent life with their meagre earnings.

Srivastava, mother of a daughter and a son, said: “My husband is the person, who persuaded me to take such an initiative and without him I couldn't have done it.”
The doctor couple also organises different programmes to create awareness among people about the problems in the holy city of Varanasi owing to huge pollution.

Problems like allergic bronchial asthma, allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, skin allergy, dermatitis, urticaria have been on the increase in the town, said
Dr Manoj. “There is a need to create an awareness among people so that they may protect themselves and take steps to check rising pollution,” he added.

“I lost my father at an early age and had to struggle a lot to achieve success in life,” said Srivastava, who completed her masters in gynaecology and obstetrics about 13 years ago.

She sought cooperation from society in her initiative. “We will face an alarming situation if the declining sex ratio does not improve in the near future,” she said expressing her resolve to do more in this regard.

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