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72% home deliveries in U’khand not attended by skilled hands: Health dept data

About 72 percent women who give birth to their child at homes in Uttarakhand are not attended by skilled birth attendants (SBA), according to health department data

dehradun Updated: Aug 11, 2018 22:09 IST
Nitika Kakkar
Nitika Kakkar
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
A total of 20,323 home deliveries were reported from the state between April 2017 and March 2018.(AP File)

About 72 percent women who give birth to their child at homes in Uttarakhand are not attended by skilled birth attendants (SBA), according to health department data.

A total of 20,323 home deliveries were reported from the state between April 2017 and March 2018. Out of these, only 5,679 were attended by a doctor or nurse or an auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM), the data showed.

Haridwar reported the highest number of home deliveries in the state with 5,905 cases, followed by Udham Singh Nagar with 3,445 between April 2017 and March 2018. Bageshwar and Rudraprayag reported the least number with 421 and 436 home deliveries respectively.

In Haridwar, 567 were attended by an SBA, which is less than 10 percent.

When asked about the reason, assistant chief medical officer of Haridwar Dr Ashok Kumar said, “Most women in the rural areas of the district do not trust ANM workers or doctors. They trust the village midwives and prefer that their child should be born with these midwives’ assistance.”

Kumar said there was a severe shortage of government doctors in the district.

“We just have 53 doctors while there should at least be 200. There are hardly any female doctors in the district. Most of the community health centres (CHC) do not have a lady doctor. How will the women of the village develop trust or come to CHCs for their delivery? The ANM workers are also not available at night.”

Udham Singh Nagar is the only district where none of the home deliveries was carried out by a SBA. Accounting for almost 17 percent of the total number, the district is the second highest in the state to report home deliveries.

Chief medical officer of Udham Singh Nagar Dr Shailja Bhatt said, “The population of Udham Singh Nagar is 16.5 lakh, which is a lot more than most of the hilly areas in the state. Bageshwar has just 2.5 lakh people. This is the population of a single ward in the district. But still I won’t negate the fact that home deliveries do take place.”

“In many cases, there is no time to take the woman to the hospital. In some cases, people call up 108 but the vehicle is not able to reach them on time.

“Besides, many tribals and people in the rural areas of the district trust midwives from their own community more than government doctors,” said Bhatt.

First Published: Aug 11, 2018 22:09 IST