In an incident that underlines the need for better medical care in Madhya Pradesh, a woman from Narsinghpur district’s Kareli village had no option but to commandeer a cycle rickshaw in the wee hours of Monday to ensure that her neighbour reached the district hospital on time to deliver her baby.
Sources said the pregnant woman, Kanta Mehra, was all alone at her residence in Kareli’s Basti locality when she went into labour on Sunday night. Hearing the woman’s cries, her neighbours came running and telephoned the Janani call centre for an ambulance. They were assured that a 108 Janani Suraksha van would reach there at the earliest.
Hours later, there was still no sign of the ambulance.
Finally, when Mehra couldn’t take it anymore, her neighbour Guddi Bai decided to make alternative arrangements. She hailed an autorickshaw, but the driver refused to transport a pregnant passenger. Left with no other option, Guddi Bai borrowed a cycle rickshaw from an acquaintance around 1.30 am and pedalled four kilometres to the district hospital.
“We even saw another 108 ambulance on our way. I tried to hail the vehicle, but it just passed us by. Anyway, I was determined to take her to the hospital before it got too late,” said Guddi Bai.
Sources said there were about four Janani Suraksha ambulances parked outside the hospital while the entire incident unfolded. When contacted, district hospital doctor Madhusudhan Upadhyay said he was “unaware of the situation”.
Nevertheless, Mehra’s horror story had a happy ending. She delivered her baby 7.30 am on Monday.