A 26-year-old woman, Parvin Aktar gave birth to a stillborn baby at the parking lot of the Maternal & Child Health Training Institute’s (MCHTI) at Azimpur, Dhaka, on Tuesday.
She was refused by Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH), and Mitford hospital of Sir Salimullah Medical College (SSMC), where doctors had referred her for MCHTI when she arrived at 8am.
Parvin said she was scared after a hospital attendant wearing a red scarf told her to pay Tk1500 for emergency C-section that she could arrange then and there or to go to DMCH.
“A women wearing red scarf from the hospital was asking for Tk1500 for C-section. When I explained my financial situation and I don’t have a single penny, she told me to go back to DMC. Without this amount of money nothing can happen,” Parvin said.
“When I went to DMCH, they said I needed a C-section and there were 40 more patients in the serial ahead of me. They referred me to Mitford Hospital where they said they cannot help me and again referred me to MCHTI,” Parvin said while she was going through labour pains.
A kind hearted stranger, Sohel, who was helping her through her ordeal, told the Dhaka Tribune: “The attendant grabbed Parvin’s hand and dragged her out of the hospital. She went into labour in the parking lot, where she gave birth to the stillborn child. I do not know why they were asking for money because we were told that this hospital provides care for free.”
Parvin came from Netrokona 20 days ago to look for her husband Rubel, who left her when she was five months pregnant.
She earned Tk1500 by stitching blankets to come to Dhaka. she got to the city, she found out that her husband had remarried and was living in Netrokona.
Out of money, she was living on the streets and sleeping in Osmani Uddyan Park. Her meals were provided by Golap Shah Mazar in Gulistan.
When she felt labour pain on Tuesday, she asked Sohel to help her get to the hospital.
In an earlier report Mohammad Sharif, director (Mch-service) and line director (MC-RAH) of the Department of Family Planning told the Dhaka Tribune that there is a lack of training regimen and a shortage of properly trained staff in health complexes nationwide who are capable of delivering a child via natural means.
Many hospitals appoint brokers to have expecting women admit to hospitals for C-section surgery. This baby-brokers earn around Tk2,000-Tk3,000 for every mother they get admitted to the hospital.
Hospital authorities’ response
The MCHTI health service staff denied the accusation made by Parvin and told the Dhaka Tribune that Parvin herself was pushing for a C-section. They said that doctors recommended she walk through the labour pains. They also said they did not find the child’s heartbeat.
“She told the attendant that she was going to the bathroom to clear her colon but we do not know how she ended up outside.
“Our staff was busy cleaning her excrement from the floor when she said she was outside giving birth,” the hospital said.
Parvin reportedly gave birth to her stillborn at 10am with the help of two women in the parking lot. Brokers present at the spot, said it was common for birth attendants to ask for money at the hospital.
MCHTI Superintendent Dr Ishrat Jahan said: “When Parvin arrived at the hospital, doctors directly transferred her at the labour ward because she was about to give birth very soon. We were more focused on giving her care and did not go through the paperwork first.
A three member special committee was formed, led by Dr Rowsan Hossain Jahan, to investigate the incident and they will file a report within the next 24 hours.
However, Dr Ishrat pointed out that many people were taking videos of the incident on their phones instead of helping her into the hospital.