Of the 14 maternity homes run by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), only five have ambulances to ferry pregnant women to the hospital. The remaining hospitals have to rely on either the Dr Naidu Hospital on Raja Bahadur Mill Road or private ambulance providers.
As a result, Leela (name changed), a resident of Lohegaon, delivered a boy on December 15 in a rickshaw while on her way to the Bharatratna Rajeev Gandhi Maternity Home in Yerawada.
While mother and child in the December 15 case are now in good health, cases of pregnant women delivering in rickshaws or buses keep happening in the city; there is no agency responsible for tracking such cases.
Leela belonged to a below poverty line (BPL) family, which did not have a vehicle and public transport was also unavailable in the area. Also, there are no corporation hospitals in the vicinity that could be accessed in case of emergency.
Most of the 14 municipal corporation hospitals cater to a large area where there is no major government hospital. For example, the Matoshree Ramabai Amedkar Maternity Home, Ambil Odha, is the only government maternity home for pregnant women living in Bibwewadi, Sinhgad Road, Swargate and Satara Road. And the distance from Kamala Nehru Hospital, the nearest government hospital, is around 5 km.
The Sakharam Kundalik Kondre Maternity Home, Mundhwa Gaon, caters to pregnant women from Ghorpadi, Keshavnagar, Jahangle Nagar and Kawadewadi. And it is around 10 km from any major government hospital in the city. Treatment gets delayed for pregnant women in most cases, which can result in complications during delivery.
The Namdevrao Shivkar Maternity Home, Wanavdi, and the Minatai Thackeray Maternity Home, Kondhwagaon, face similar problems as they cater to areas with large populations that cannot access a major government hospital in the city.
Most of the hospitals that are located on the periphery of the city face the same issue. And transport up to the maternity home itself is also very difficult to manage. “Still, we are covering a large area and handle many patients in a day,” Dr Z E Kamble said.
Most of the hospitals do not assure the patients that they will be provided an ambulance in case of emergency. In case of complications, the ambulance is called all the way from Naidu Hospital and Kamala Nehru Hospital, which has only four ambulances. When undercover MiD DAY reporters surveyed these hospitals, the staff said, “Book your own ambulance and don’t to depend on us for help. We might not be able to give an ambulance in case of emergency.”
An ambulance sent from Naidu Hospital to these maternity hospitals take about an hour to collect the patient and bring her to Sassoon or Kamla Nehru hospital.