Family Alleges Bribe Demands By Health Centre, Mother And Baby Die After Delivery At Home

The family had to return as they did not have the money to pay bribe to the nurses at health centre.

Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh: Yashoda, 21, was taken for her delivery to a community health centre in Madhya Pradesh’s Jakhnod village. The family, however, had to return as they did not have the money to pay bribe to the nurses.

Eight days after giving birth to a daughter at home, Yashoda died. Twenty days later, her daughter also passed away.

Yashoda’s mother-in-law Rajkumari, a sahariya tribal, said, “We were feeding her milk from a bottle. But once she fell ill, she stopped drinking milk and did not survive.”

Mother and daughter did not receive any medical attention before or after delivery. This, despite that fact that the community health centre was just seven kilometres away from her village in Pohari block.

Banwari, Yashoda’s father-in-law, said, “We did not have money. It would have cost us at least Rs 500 at the hospital. They ask for Rs 100 just for a check-up. If we say we don’t have the money, they refer us to the Shivpuri district  hospital which is at a distance of 40 kms.”

The family does not own any land and has no source of regular income. Yashoda’s husband is a migrant labourer and his parents are dependent on him.

Rajkumari, Yashoda’s mother-in-law said that she fed milk to her granddaughter with bottle, but after she fell ill, she stopped taking the milk.

Yashoda’s parents-in-law decided to call the local midwife. This midwife, they say, could be paid later when they had money.

Shanti Kushwaha, ASHA worker from Jakhnod village, told NDTV that nurses refuse to touch the patient unless they are paid a bribe.

But this charge is denied by the Auxillary Nurse Midwifery (ANM) at Pohri block community centre, Lakshmi Jattav. She said, “We do not ask for money, nor do we take it if it is offered to us. We tell the patients that it is a government hospital and no money is required for the same.”

The Collector and District Magistrate, Om Prakash Srivastava, told NDTV he would conduct an investigation. Both the Centre and the state are trying to encourage institutional deliveries to prevent maternal and neonatal deaths. He said, “Women who have institutional deliveries are given Rs 1400. If they are covered by the Majdoor Suraksha Yojna, then they get 45 days wages, which is about Rs 8,000.”

He further said that if a child delivery happens at home and if there is a case of death due to that, then a committee conducts a review. “We will check if a review has been conducted in this case,” he said.

Cases like these only puncture holes in much publicized government schemes that are meant to protect the mother and the child.