On 12th November 2013, Video Volunteers Community Correspondent Mukesh Rajak witnessed gross medical negligence and lack of accountability at the Sub Divisional Hospital Madhupur, which led to the stillbirth of an infant to Mrs. Aamna Bibi.
When Aamna Bibi, a resident of Purni Singhdho village, Madhupur District, went into labour, her family called the local ASHA workers to assist with her delivery. They came immediately and summoned the Mamta Vahini, a special ambulance for women in labour. They were told that the ambulance was occupied. After waiting for an hour the family rented a private vehicle and arrived at hospital with Aamna who was by then in full- blown labor. They saw two ambulances waiting idly on the campus.
The doctor on duty was nowhere in sight and there wasn't any help available. The family waited for three hours. It was during this time that CC Mukesh met them while himself waiting to be attended to by a doctor.
Shaken by the pain Aamna was going through, Mukesh proceeded to record the family's testimony of the situation, with their consent. There were also three other pregnant women who were being made to wait without being given any medical attention.
When the pain was beyond tolerance, Aamna's brother in law, Mr. Mohamed. Yunis, managed to hire a private vehicle with great difficulty and went ahead to a private clinic in Madhupur.
At this point, Dr. Mohamed Arif, Medical Officer In charge arrived on the scene and assaulted Mukesh for asking the question of why there was no one paying attention to the patients. The Doctor held him by his collar, shoved him around and slapped him. He proceeded to call his local supporters who threatened Mukesh as well.
The doctor then wrote a complaint on his prescription pad to the police (Mukesh encouraged this, as he felt this was the safest way to get out of there) stating that Mukesh was "disrupting government work". Mukesh was taken to the local station, warned and let off in about an hour.
Upon release, Mukesh went to check on Aamna Bibi as he was worried and learnt from the driver of the local taxi that the child had been born still.
This incident is a testimony to lack of attention being paid to the medical needs of patients referred to the Sub Divisional hospital in Madhupur and warrants immediate legal and administrative action against those responsible.
"It is disheartening to see such incidents despite schemes like Janani Suraksha Yojana being put in place to ensure the safety of mothers and new borns. Institutionalized deliveries are strongly encouraged under this scheme. India has the highest number of first day deaths in the world according to the "State of the World's Mothers Report" published by Save the children", says Tania Deviah, Impacts Manager, Video Volunteers.
Local NGOs like Prerana Bharthi and Mazdoor Kisan Sangh are supporting the struggle that lays ahead for the affected family and are also standing by Mukesh.
The family, with support from Mukesh Rajak and Prerana Bharthi, have lodged a complaint with the District Collector of Deogarh; Sub District Officer, Madhupur; Block District Officer, Madhupur and Civil Surgeon, Deogarh on 14th Nov 2013 -- Children's day.
Video Volunteers is assisting the family through an online petition via Change.org. You can support Amna and the rest of the community by signing.
Since then Mukesh has uncovered several such case studies on the lack of access to maternal health. The below video includes their testimonies.
Action on the Ground:
- Aamna and her family were resolute that they wanted to take action against the medical negligence. Community Correspondent Mukesh supported them and uncovered more such testimonies that you saw above. A petition was launched on change.org on 23rd November.
- On 9th December with support from community members Mukesh and Aamna's family began follow up on the case with an initial meeting with the Sub-Divisional Officer at Madhupur.
- On 13th December Mukesh facilitated a meeting with the District Collector. He then accompanied Aamna's family to the meeting where they submitted the change.org petition along with video evidence. The DC assured them that action would be taken
- On 17th December the Civil Surgeon (also the investigating officer) of Deogarh visited the Madhupur Sub Divisional Hospital for an inspection but did not meet Aamna's family and other witnesses. It was reported in the local media that the hospital staff appeared just for the inspection and after it was over, it was back to the usual state of affairs and the patients were found waiting for medical negligence.
- Mukesh, the Impact team in Goa and our partners at change.org felt that intervention was required to ensure proper investigation of the case. A strongly worded letter was sent to the District Collector and Civil Surgeon to urge them to meet Aamna. Mukesh and the VV team in Goa were in constant telephonic touch with the investigating team in Madhupur
- On 20th December the Civil Surgeon and Sub-Divisional Officer met with the doctors accused of negligence; Aamna's brother in law, Mr Yunus; and Mukesh. After giving their individual statements, Mukesh and Yunus took the officials to Aamna's house. The doctors in question insisted on being present while Aamna testified. They tried to intimidate the family.
- After repeated requests from Mukesh, Yunus and Team Goa (on the phone) the Civil Surgeon asked the accused doctors to leave the room. At the end of the evening the Civil Surgeon admitted that there were glaring lapses at the Sub-Divisional Hospital. He will file a report with the findings and recommended actions.
Currently, the Madhupur community, Video Volunteers and change.org are pushing to ensure that stringent action is taken against those responsible for the Hospital's terrible condition. They also want strict regulatory mechanisms in place to avoid such negligence in future.
We would like to thank the District officials and the local media for the positive response and support on this issue.
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