When nine-months pregnant Chandrakala Ahiwar, an Airoli resident, went to get her haemoglobin tested at the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation Hospital (NMMC) in Airoli, she was told her haemoglobin levels were low and that she had severe anemia.
However, not satisfied with the results, the 27-year-old headed to a private laboratory the next day. The previous day’s test results at NMMC Hospital did not match with the private lab’s results, which showed her haemoglobin level was normal. Ahiwar, whose first child died last year a month after birth, had been taking precautions with her current pregnancy.
The haemoglobin test on May 28 at NMMC Hospital showed the count at 8 gram. The test result at the private laboratory showed haemoglobin levels at 13.5 grams. “I went to the NMMC hospital hoping the doctors would be careful and because it wouldn’t be expensive. My worry was that had they administered any medicines to me my baby would be affected. After having lost one child I did not want to take any chances,” said Ahiwar who runs a beauty salon in Airoli.
She said that the gynaecologist at the hospital also felt that the results were not right and asked the laboratory to repeat the test more than once. When MiD DAY contacted NMMC Hospital in Airoli, we were told that haemoglobin testing was being done manually as the auto analyser for the testing had been non-functional for a month.
An official requesting anonymity said, “We have already informed the higher authorities that the machine to check blood is non-functional. In case there is an error in our report, then it could be because the blood testing was done manually.” A city-based gynaecologist Dr Rekha Dhavar said that doctors generally prescribe iron and folic acid tablets for pregnant women whose haemoglobin levels are below 10 grams. “Had any tablets been given to the patient with her haemoglobin levels being normal, it could have affected her child,” said Dhavar.