Thursday, August 12, 2010

Kashmir crisis threatens pregnant women

Lack of regular check-ups cause complicated births
Srinagar: The ongoing crisis in the Kashmir Valley and the resultant curfews and restrictions has drastically slashed both the patient inflow and ante-natal checkup of expecting women, thereby taking toll on the health of the mother as well as the newborn.
Experts fear that lack of regular consultation during pregnancy and the increasing number of "obstruct" cases, is resulting in high mother-baby mortaility rate across the Valley. “Due to the lack of ante-natal checkup, we have witnessed some cases that are very hard to manage and treat in these situations,” a doctor at Srinagar's Lal Ded Hospital said. She said there has also been an increase in the referral cases to the tertiary-care hospital and this, according to her, has added challenges to the hospital administration. “We deal with such patients with utmost care. Despite a handful of staff available, we try to provide the best treatment possible to the patients,” she said. However, officials at LD declined to show the exact figures of mother-baby deaths, citing some technical problems as reasons. Most expecting women have their first and longest ante-natal checkup between weeks 8-12 of pregnancy. The doctors suggest that earlier the checkup, better for the patient; and there will also be check on the increasing mortality rate. Meanwhile, patients admitted that due to lack of regular examination during the period of pregnancy, they have to face lots of healthb problems. “It has been difficult for patients to visit consultants during the present Kashmir unrest. This has affected the maternity care badly. I had to spend more days at the hospital because of some complications,” said a patient Mehmooda from central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
Mehmooda’s newborn baby has been put on the ventilator and it is only her husband attending to the child at ward 218 of the hospital. Her other family members or relatives could not reach the hospital owing to the disturbed conditions, curfews and restrictions. Meanwhile, noted gynecologist and Principal Government Medical CollegeSrinagar Dr Shahida Mir told Rising Kashmir that the lack of ante-natal checkup and regular examination poses a severe health hazard which can take toll on the lives of the patients. “During ante-natal examination, complicacies get timely treatment which is good for both mother as well as the baby. But the ongoing crisis has put hurdles to this important checkup and is affecting their health,” she said. “We have been receiving several complicated cases and the number is ever rising. The prolonged curfews and restrictions across the Valley have crippled the OPD. But we have to remain firm to treat emergency cases,” Dr Mir said. “We have been receiving several complicated cases and the number is ever increasing. Prolonged curfews and restrictions across Valley have crippled the OPD. But we have to remain firm to treat emergency cases,” she said. Mir said that the morbidity rate among the patients is on increase and patients referred from different areas of the valley encounter many problems which later take toll on their health. "During the ongoing disturbances morbidity rate has increased and patients complain of different problems,” she added.

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