TIRUCHY: Hundreds of pregnant women who visit the urban primary health centre at Teppakulam here for check-up are forced to approach private laboratories or risk joining the serpentine queue at the MGMGH for a body scan as the ultrasound machine at the UPHC has not been functional for around two years now.
The 24x7 UPHC that has been functional since 1948 has a doctor and more than 10 staff members to attend to the over 100 pregnant women who turn up at the centre every Tuesday for check-up. The six-bed facility, which also attends to childbirths, majorly caters to residents from Melachinthamani, Poosari Street, and Keezha Chinthamani.
The transfer of the health centre’s radiologist soon after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic led to disuse of the ultrasound machine, and subsequently, made it faulty, sources said. As a result, pregnant women who visit the UPHC are left with few options but to approach private laboratories for a body scan.
This, in turn, has hit them economically.
A pregnant T Rasathi of Poosari Street said, "I am seven months into my pregnancy. I have been coming here (UPHC) for check-up since the beginning but as the scan machine does not work I have undergone two scans at a private laboratory so far. There, it costs Rs 1600 for a single scan.” My husband, a daily wager, has to work five days to afford a single body scan. Thus we suffer greatly without money and without undergoing the scan, she added.
S Akbar, husband of a 30-year-old woman who is into her eighth month of pregnancy and is being treated at the UPHC, said that she has so far undergone three body scans at a cost of `4000 in private labs.
A 28-year-old pregnant girl, who did not wish to be named, said, "As the scan machine here does not work, they refer us to a private lab or to the Tiruchy MGMGH. But there is already a large crowd at the GH scan centre. We have to wait for a long time to undergo scanning, leaving us tired."
When contacted, a UPHC source said, “The scan machine has not worked for two years. Thus we refer pregnant women to a government hospital for body scan. We have informed the higher authorities about this. The machine will be fixed soon."
While Administrative Officer at the Corporation R Ramesh said no complaint about the UPHC has been received, he said he will look into the issue.
City Health Officer M Yazhini was unavailable for comment.