One third of Maharashtra govt ambulances trips involved a pregnant woman
There were as many as 17,000 cases of childbirth in an ambulance or performed by the staff on the spot, according to data from Maharashtra Emergency Medical Servicesmumbai Updated: Feb 09, 2018 15:43 IST
One out of three trips made by Maharashtra government’s ambulance service is to ferry pregnant women to the hospital.
Officials said there has been a four-fold increase in the use of ambulance services to transport pregnant women with medical complications to hospitals since 2014, which may have brought down maternal mortality rates.
Statistics by the Maharashtra Emergency Medical Services (MEMS) revealed that the number of pregnancy-related emergencies attended by them increased from 59,300 in 2014 to 2,26,765 in 2017.
There were as many as 17,000 cases of childbirth in an ambulance or performed by the staff on the spot, according to the data.
Run by the state public health department, the MEMS ambulance provides free transportation and medical access across the state. The service can be used by calling the toll-free number 108. “The service has helped bring more than 19,500 babies into this world,” said Hanmantrao Gaikwad, chairman and managing director, BVG India Ltd, which operates the ambulances.
“Our team of more than 5,000 staff, including paramedics and doctors, are trained to conduct deliveries in most emergency situations, and are equipped with disposable face masks, plastic aprons and head caps, cord lamps, surgical blades, delivery sheets, sterile gloves, mucus suckers and baby wraps,” he said.
The highest number of pregnancy-related emergencies has been recorded in Pune (49,311), followed by Solapur (30,361), Nagpur (24,948) and Mumbai (14,439) since 2014. Statistics also showed that most emergencies were reported between 8am and 12pm (1,33,286), 8pm and 12am (1,15,912) and 12pm and 4pm (1,11,851).
Dr YS Nandanwar, former head of gynaecology at Sion hospital, which conducts around 12,000 deliveries a year, said a woman in a pregnancy-related medical emergency loses more than 1.5 litres of blood an hour, and therefore ambulances play an integral role in reducing the maternal mortality and morbidity.
“As against regular ambulance services that may or may not have medical resources or expertise to handle such emergencies, MEMS staff have successfully stabilised patients with high blood pressure or acute labour pain effectively before reaching the hospitals. A few years ago, when the service was introduced, we had created designated referral hospitals for ambulances from certain areas as a result of which the drivers knew the fastest routes to reach these hospitals, further reducing the transportation period,” said Nandanwar.
He said while scientifically there is no specific time frame for a pregnancy-related emergency, they have observed that most of them take place during the latter part of the day. “This could be because of the free hours of working women and also based on a woman’s threshold to hold back labour pain until their kin return from work. But there is no specific biological reason,” said Nandanwar.