Long wait for pregnant nurses in Saudi Arabia

40 Malayali nurses in Gulf country approach Ministry of External Affairs & state govt seeking help to return home

Published: 22nd April 2020 06:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd April 2020 06:44 AM   |  A+A-

Pregnant women

For representational purposes

Express News Service

KOCHI: They are all in advanced stages of pregnancy and are unable to get medical care as most of the hospitals have shut down the outpatient departments. Many of them are first-time moms and they are unable to cope with the anxiety as there is no relative around to attend them. As many as 40 Malayali nurses, serving at various hospitals in Saudi Arabia, have approached the Ministry of External Affairs and Kerala government seeking help to return home.

“I was working under the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia as a nurse and had resigned last month preparing to return home for delivery. I am into the 35th week of pregnancy and I am staying alone at King Saud Hospital in Thaif. The hospital is a Covid care centre and a staff in the labour ward was recently tested positive. Though there are many Malayali nurses around, many of them are attending Covid patients which makes close contact risky,” Dona Sunny, a native of Bison Valley in Idukki district, told TNIE over the phone. Dona’s husband Sarath is stranded in Kuwait after the hotel where he worked was closed down due to the outbreak.

“Only women who have completed 37 weeks of pregnancy are provided medical care at hospitals. In case of an emergency, only the patient will be shifted to hospital in an ambulance and no bystander is allowed. As the chances of getting proper medical care during delivery are scarce, we have approached the MEA to evacuate us,” said Dona.  Though the nurses contacted the Indian Embassy at Riyadh and Jiddah, they were told the request will be prioritised if the Indian government decides to evacuate people.

“We had contacted the Indian Embassy in Riyadh, but there is no positive reply on evacuation. There is no gynaecology department in the hospital where we work. We are depending on clinics for medical care and there is uncertainty on availing hospital admission for delivery,” said Amala Varghese, who works at a hospital in Riyadh. 

Idukki MP Dean Kuriakose, who contacted Union Minister for External Affairs S Jaishankar, said the minister did not give any assurance of evacuation. “The reply is disappointing. The ministry said no special flights are planned at this juncture and advised people to stay where they are. The government will keep reviewing the situation and is constantly working on all the options. As the case of the pregnant nurses is a unique one, the government should consider their appeal with compassion,” he said.

Dire straits
With most hospitals having shut down their outpatient departments, the nurses are unable to avail medical care
The current practice is such that only women who have completed at least 37 weeks of pregnancy receive proper treatment

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