Mothers, infants dying for want of birthing centres

Sindhulimadi, June 3

Scores of new mothers and infants are dying in Sindhuli for want of birthing centres in the health facilities of the district.

Sunita Tamang, 21, of Kamalamai Municipality, died on the day she gave birth to a baby girl at her home 10 days ago. Due to lack of a birthing centre in Bhadrakali Health Post, which was close to her area, she delivered the baby at home and succumbed to excessive bleeding. She breathed her last while being rushed to the district hospital. The infant survived.

Jyomomaya Ghising, another woman of Hariharpurgadi Rural Municipality, lost her baby at home on March 4 due to the lack of birthing centre. “My child died as she could not get proper medication,” said Ghising, who is coping with her loss. Earlier, Ghising had to walk four hours to Paldhunga of Kavre to reach a health facility for the check-up following labour pain.

Usha Dhakal, a resident of Khangsang, Fikkal Rural Municipality, was worried about giving birth to her baby. So, a few months earlier she had gone to a health facility in Okhaldhunga to give birth.

The women from Khangsang have no alternative but to approach either Okhaldhunga or Udayapur district as there is no birthing centre in adjoining areas.

Health facilities in Okhaldhunga and Udayapur are closer than the health facilities in Sindhulimadi, the district headquarters.

These are few representative cases among hundreds of women facing similar hardships in the district. Some have to lose their life and their babies. Moreover, health services in other districts are expensive and travel too entails long distances. According to District Public Health Office, Sindhuli, 25 health facilities have birthing centre out of the total 55 health posts in the district. According to government policy, each health post must have one birthing centre.

However, DPHO Chief Gaurab Dhakal said all health posts had not set up birthing centre as there was no demand. “The locals have to ask the health post chief in written seeking services of birthing centre. When the meeting of the health post management committee endorses the agenda, they have to come to us for the recommendation.”