Mahoba District. Even though the much talked about 108 ambulance service in Uttar Pradesh is meant to pick up pregnant women in need of medical attention from their homes, in many villages people are still unable to avail of its benefits.
Suman from Bamhauri Kalan village (Charkhari block) of Mahoba district was visiting relatives on 26 May 2014 when suddenly around midnight she experienced pain. Her family rushed her to the Community Health Centre (CHC) in Kabrai block. Having left late in the night from the Khanna Kasba in Kabrai they had to hire a vehicle for almost 2,000 rupees to get to the health centre. They had barely been at the CHC when they were referred to the Mahoba district hospital by 1 a.m.
Suman’s husband Rambabu said that even though the referral was made in no time, there was no ambulance provided to them. While on their way to the district hospital, 20 kilometres away, Suman gave birth to a premature child who did not survive. Once they reached Mahoba, she gave birth to another 2 babies. Her husband informed that the babies are doing fine but since they were born prematurely, the doctors haven’t administered any vaccinations to them.
The Additional Chief Medical Officer (A.C.M.O.) of Mahoba, Dr. B.P. Verma said that the newborn babies are too weak to be vaccinated immediately. As for the baby that Suman and Rambabu lost, he said that if the referral was made by the Kabrai CHC then it was their responsibility to ensure the patient was provided with the free ambulance service. Rambabu blamed the Kabrai CHC and said that if they had gotten an ambulance on time, they might not have lost the baby at all.
Note: The 108 and 102 free ambulance services are provisions made under the National Rural Health Mission. In Uttar Pradesh the 108 ambulance service, also known as the Samajwadi Swasthya Sewa was started in September 2012 and has been operational since February 2013 but is still ineffectual in many districts in the state.
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