Since 24th of March 2020 when the nationwide lockdown was imposed, in an ad hoc manner to contain the spread of Coronavirus, that led to an unprecedented crisis for pregnant ladies like never before.
In Mumbai, the state administration pushed the city into a curfew with no public transport or ambulance for those who lived in distant areas and needed immediate medical assistance.
Non – institutional births were minimized in the past few years. But due to this unplanned curfew, all the efforts to reduce the non – institutional births were cocked up.
The M East ward of Mumbai is one of the poorest wards in the city with the vast population. Government and NGOs information shows that nearly 78% of the ward’s populace lives in wretched destitution, denied the most fundamental government facilities. From lodging, water and power, each office is questionable and residents attempting to demonstrate they are “lawful creatures”.
Usha Gautam, a labourer of M East ward, gave non – institutional birth to her baby whose weight is just above two kilograms. He was delicate, so was Usha. Yet, Usha says she is thankful that the two of them endure.
Dai Mas are an essential piece of the ghetto environment in the M East ward, most lives here endure on the handouts offered by different non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Aisa Bano Khan, a lady in her mid-50s, is the go-to individual for pregnant moms. Khan, a class three dropout, has been delivering infants for almost three decades. She doesn’t get any formal education but relies on her experience.
Khan delivered almost 30 children during the lockdown in M East. She charges 2000 RS. per delivery. From Usha she didn’t charge. Because Usha is fully out of resource and her earning members of the family were rendered jobless.
There are two main problems. Firstly, the newly born babies and their mothers’ health concerns have remained a neglected issue during Covid-19. Secondly, the vaccination and nutrition of newly born babies are on a backseat. The immunisation work carried out under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) has virtually come to a halt.
The human development index of M ward is the lowest in the city, with an infant mortality rate of 66.47 per thousand live births.
Covid-19 should be governments’ priority but integrated women and child health care systems must not be neglected. This Dai Maa delivery process is carried out from ancient times.
The government should create a formal education system for these midwives. This can strengthen the rural health care system, help in decreasing mortality rate, safe passage for babies and provide secure & credible employment to Dai Maas.
Written By Chanderveer Singh
Image Source Google