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Unable to get ambulance, Gurugram woman delivers in auto on way to hospital

According to a family member, Savita, a resident of Naharpur, had labour pains on Wednesday morning, following which her husband called 108 — the health department’s ambulance service. However, no operator answered his calls for almost 30 minutes, the family said.

gurgaon Updated: Feb 28, 2019 05:17 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Gurugram
The woman’s husband said they decided to hire an auto-rickshaw at the last moment as they heard from locals that ambulances weren’t working due to the ongoing strike of workers of the National Health Mission (NHM). (Getty Images/Picture for representation)

A 21-year-old woman gave birth in an auto-rickshaw on Wednesday as she was unable to get an ambulance on time, her family alleged.

According to a family member, Savita, a resident of Naharpur, had labour pains on Wednesday morning, following which her husband called 108 — the health department’s ambulance service. However, no operator answered his calls for almost 30 minutes, the family said.

“After failing to get a response, we decided to hire an auto-rickshaw to go to Civil Hospital in Civil Lines. But she delivered a baby girl on the way,” her husband Phagu said, adding that the child and the mother were admitted to the government hospital upon reaching. Both of them are in a stable condition, he said.

He added that they decided to hire an auto-rickshaw at the last moment as they heard from the residents of the neighbourhood that ambulances weren’t working due to the ongoing strike of workers of the National Health Mission (NHM).

NHM workers have been striking since February 5, demanding implementation of the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission and service bylaws promised to them in December 2017. Services of 629 NHM workers were terminated on February 15 for being absent from work for more than seven days, as is specified in their contract, Gurugram civil surgeon Dr BK Rajora said.

Due to the strike and the subsequent termination, ambulance services, among others, have taken a hit. However, officials of the district health department said staff to run the ambulances and certain functions of the hospital have been outsourced temporarily.

“At least 20 drivers have been hired to run the ambulances in the meantime. Telephone operators have also been hired on rotation,” district nodal officer (referral centre) Dr MP Singh said, adding that during a check on Wednesday afternoon he found adequate staff in the ambulance control room.

“Nine out of 19 ambulances are running which is a sufficient number,” Dr Singh said, adding that no action can be taken against the ambulance operators unless the family files a complaint with the civil surgeon’s office.

Hari Raj, state general secretary, NHM workers’ union, said that workers would continue protesting outside the government hospital indefinitely. Earlier, on Friday, a 23-year-old woman gave birth in an auto-rickshaw despite reaching the Civil Hospital on time as doctors weren’t available to examine her, her family had alleged.

The family had said a nurse had examined the woman, and had asked them to come back a couple of days later for delivery. On their way back, she delivered a baby boy in the auto-rickshaw, the family maintained.

First Published: Feb 28, 2019 05:17 IST