A would-be mother in a Maoist affected block of Jharkhand’s Dhanbad district succumbed to labour pain in the absence of doctors in hospital Monday.
The victim Budhini Devi, resident of Nandadih village under Tundi block, around 40 km from Dhanbad town, was admitted to the block community health centre (CHC) amidst severe labour pain Sunday night. They waited for doctors for hours but to no avail. Since doctors do not stay in the hospital at night owing to the ultras fear, the patient remained unattended writhing in pain the entire night.
When her condition deteriorated beyond control in the wee hours, her husband took her to Giridih district hospital, around 30 km away in a three wheeler. However, upon reaching the hospital, the man suffered the shock of his life when doctors declared the mother and child in her womb dead.
This is the second incident within 24 hours in the hospital when a patient died in absence of doctor. On Monday a 50-year-old woman Madhki Karmkar had died as there was no one to attend her.
Since Tundi block is considered Maoists affected, doctors do not stay in the hospital at night. Institutional delivery at Tundi CHC has been suspended since September 2016 as lady doctors refuse to stay during the night hours.
Dhanbad civil surgeon Dr Chandrambika Srivastava, who took the incident seriously and slapped show cause notices to CHC medical officers in-charge Dr ID Singh on Tuesday , said that there are only three doctors who include two women in the entire block. “Both the lady doctors prefer serving during the day. Nobody offers to serve the night shift. The CHC has been instructed to ensure presence of doctors in the hospital 24 X 7 come what may,” he said.
Doctors absence from hospital in LWE hit areas is considered to be one of the major factors behind high maternal mortality rate(MMR) in Jharkhand which is at 267 per every live birth, much higher that the national average of 178 per lakh live birth.
Chief secretary Rajbala Verma had increased the numbers of Mamta Vahans in rural areas besides announcing to develop and improve institutional deliveries with a motive to improve MMR in the state but the shortage of doctors remains a major stumbling block on the path.
A senior official of state health department said let alone other districts, Jharkhand’s three top districts including capital Ranchi are reeling under acute shortage of doctors. There are only 163 doctors against sanctioned posts of 205 in Ranchi, 66 against 141 in Jamshedpur and 37 against 125 in Dhanbad.