Hasina Siddhique’s story highlights the plight of non-Covid patients in the city


After being turned down by four hospitals, Hasina Siddhique had to give birth at home, with the help of a midwife who was present outside one of the hospitals. Fortunately, the nightmare had a happy ending as she gave birth to a baby girl and both mother and child are doing fine.

On Sunday morning, Hasina from Kadar building in Don Taki area near JJ Hospital went into labour. Her husband Hazrat Ali Siddhique, who works as a cook, said that getting an ambulance or any vehicle was proving to be a task, and so he took her to JJ on his bike. He says the hospital refused to admit her despite her condition. Then they went to Nagori Hospital, Nair hospital, Noor hospital and then Dholkawala. “But either they had no bed or refused to admit her. She was not even Covid positive,” he said.

The journey on the bike was not easy for the couple as Hasina was in pain and police stopped them at several locations. “I had no idea what to do. Seeing our condition, a woman sitting outside Dholkawala hospital came forward and offered help. She said she was a dai (midwife) and could help in delivery. At that moment I had no option but to trust her and agreed to take her assistance,” Hazrat said.

The midwife was brought home triple seat on the same bike and neighbours helped with the preparation for the delivery as she instructed. It was a tough time for all of them as except the midwife, no one had ever experienced home deliveries. “I have heard of home deliveries in my village. But never seen it or experienced it,” said Hazarat. “But the dai really did the best job like any professional doctor would do. It took four hours for the delivery. But the first cry of the baby put me at ease. I was so happy and amazed with the dai’s skills,” he said.

When asked about who was the midwife, Hazarat said, “She came like an angel and went. She did not even take money from me. So, I insisted on giving her Rs 500 while dropping her back at the same hospital,” he added. Siddhiqui family is yet to name their first daughter.

Congress MLA of the area, Amin Patel, said that the husband had called him for help but hospitals refused to admit her. “I have been repeatedly raising this issue with the government and the BMC that if hospitals turn down non-Covid patients, where will they go? No hospital is following guidelines at this time,” he said.

Health activist and convenor of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Kamayani Bali Mahabal, pointed at Delhi High Court’s recent directive on the issue. “The court clearly said that delivery of a pregnant woman is a right to life. Even if they are in a hotspot, ambulance service should be provided and an officer should be assigned to ensure smooth travelling. However, women’s access to health and reproductive rights are always neglected. All the resources are diverted to Covid patients but that does not mean that non-Covid patients should not be treated in the hospital,” she said.

Mumbai Mirror