COIMBATORE: In the wee hours of Monday, a 20-year-old woman, V Kausalya, in the last leg of her pregnancy and experiencing labour, is being rushed to the nearest upgraded primary health centre (PHC) at Kanjampatti in Pollachi in Coimbatore district. The sanitary worker at the PHC refuses to let her in, saying there are no doctors or nurses present at that hour. She instead asks the woman to be taken to another hospital. Even as a heated argument breaks out between Kausalya’s husband Venraj, a daily wage labourer from Kasipattinam, and the hospital staff, Kausalya delivers the baby.
The block medical officer arrives minutes after the parents cut the umbilical cord, examines the mother and child and pronounces them to be healthy. They are then referred to a the Pollachi headquarters hospital. A happy ending to a story that could have easily gone the other way.
The story, for the sanitary worker, however, is not over yet. After vehement protests from the family, PHC authorities dismiss the staff, on temporary payroll, for not allowing the woman in. The Kanjampatti PHC has five doctors. Two of them being sent on deputation, one being on leave left only one doctor each for the day shift and night shift. It is important to note that no action was initiated against the doctor missing from his post.
The deputy director of health services, Coimbatore, P G Banumathi, who is responsible for the PHCs in the district, was unavailable for a comment.
No medical staff
The sanitary staff of the PHC refused to let the woman in as there were no doctors or nurses there.