Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

Even as the State is grappling with incidents of high maternal mortality (MMR), a pregnant woman was left to deliver her baby inside an autorickshaw after the staff at a Public Health Centre (PHC) in Odisha’s Ganjam district allegedly refused to open doors despite frantic knocks by her family members seeking immediate admission.

As per reports, one Kartik Sethi took his pregnant wife in an auto to the PHC in Rahada under Beguniapada Block of the district after she experienced labour pain. However, when they reached the PHC they allegedly found the doors shut.

A worried Kartik then knocked at the doors of the healthcare centre and called out for help. However, no one opened the door even as his wife underwent severe labour pain for over an hour before finally delivering the baby inside the vehicle. 

The family has alleged that doctors were present at the centre while they were calling out for help. But, their cries fell on deaf ears.

"We took my daughter to the health centre as she was in labour. However, no one, including the doctor responded to our call. She gave birth to the child inside the auto. They admitted her in the hospital only after she became serious," alleged the mother of the woman.

"The government has opened such centres for us and the doctors including other staff are getting paid for offering healthcare services to the public. But, in such exigency hours, we were not able to access the facilities," she said.

An Asha worker, who was with the family, said, "The doctors present at the centre didn't open the door even after I knocked repeatedly. While I attended to the pregnant woman, her husband and others continued knocking. When the staff finally opened the door, the baby was already delivered inside the auto."

Meanwhile, Ganjam Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) Dr Umashankar Mishra has assured of action against the PHC officials after an investigation into the alleged incident.  

"I have received a complaint regarding the incident. I have ordered an inquiry into the matter by a committee to find out the exact reason behind the deficiency in service delivery and who is accountable for it. We will take immediate action against the person/s responsible," said Mishra.