Double whammy for these Mumbai nurses
Outstation health workers, who are expectant mothers, struggle to find their way home.
Expectant mothers, who resigned as nurses from city hospitals hoping to return to their hometowns in Kerala for delivery, are now anxiously waiting for the e-pass. They have arranged ambulances for travel and are willing to pay thousands, but haven't heard from the state police yet.
Among the expectant nurses is Reshma Anish, 30, who is about eight months pregnant and resigned from MGM Hospital, Vashi, in March, for her travel to her hometown Pathanamthitta.
Reshma told mid-day, "I had already planned everything in advance. I had booked my tickets for March 27 and resigned in the third week of March. After the lockdown was announced last month, I cancelled my ticket and booked another for April 15. Now the lockdown has been extended till May 3 and I'm not sure if it will end then." Reshma stays in Vashi with her former colleague.
Reshma, her husband Anish and daughter Theertha
She applied for an e-pass last week and still awaits the Maharashtra Director General of Police's (DGP) approval to travel.
"I visited Vashi police station last week where the cops told me apply online for an e-pass, but I haven't received it yet. When I made enquiries, I was informed that entering Kerala was not a problem, but other states won't allow Maharashtra vehicle to pass, especially Karnataka," she said.
She said this would mean changing ambulances at every state border, but it is not feasible, "as we now have learnt that the driver will have to be sent on a mandatory 14-day quarantine". Reshma said if the lockdown is lifted on May 3, she would take a flight.
Anish, spoke with mid-day from Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and said it was unfortunate that they are all stuck at different places when she needs her family the most. "She has been sending emails to both Kerala and Maharashtra officials, requesting for help. We hope that someone helps her reach Kerala," he added.
Anish said he doesn't know when he will be able to return home. "Nigeria, too, is under lockdown. Some 750 cases of COVID-19 have been reported, but the situation on ground is grim."
Glitch on website
Another nurse from Bombay Hospital has been trying to be with her family in Kottayam. Athiradevi Rohit, 25, who is also eight months pregnant currently stays at the hospital hostel.
"I had visited Aazad Maidan police station for e-pass and I was given a link for the same. I tried uploading all the details, but I faced some technical glitch. I was supposed to go to parents' home in Kottayam for my delivery, as my husband Rohit works in Saudi Arabia and is stuck there due to the lockdown," she said.
Athiradevi said she, along with her two friends, had arranged for an ambulance to go to Kerala. "We arranged for an ambulance in Panvel and agreed to '45,000-'50,000 for the trip. But we are yet to get approval of the Maharashtra police." "I am worried because in case of an emergency, I won't have my family beside me," she added.
Another nurse from Bombay Hospital, Sunita Shaji, is four months pregnant, but she has been advised complete bed rest till the seventh month due to complications. "I miscarried in the fifth month of my first pregnancy. I do not want to take any chance and will prefer to stay here in the hospital. My husband is in the UAE and my parents live in Pathanamthitta, Kerala."
Sneha Rajnish, who resigned from Hinduja Hospital in Mahim, was in luck on Wednesday. The 25-year-old is eight months pregnant and the DGP has approved her online application to travel to Thiruvananthapuram. "I am very excited. I can leave for Kerala next Monday along with my cousin who also works at Hinduja. We have hired an ambulance. My husband Rajnish is currently in UAE and this is our first child," she told mid-day.
When asked about permissions from other states, Sneha said she doesn't know about the other states, but there should not be any problem at the Kerala border.
Advice from senior gynaecologist
In the advance stage of pregnancy, it is advisable to avoid travel, said Dr Y S Nandanwar, professor of gynaecology and obstetrician, D Y Patil Medical College. "All mode of communications should be kept open so that the pregnant nurses who are away from their families could get the much-needed emotional support." "The nurses are educated about seeking required counselling. Moreover, they need to take care of their diet. It is advisable to be where they are instead of taking any risk by travel," she added.
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