Ensure medical care facilities for expecting mothers during pandemic

Mamta Lukram
The second wave has hit hard our State. Lessons from first wave should be reflected in policy implementation. Inappropriate health care facilities for non-Covid patients, maternal health care in particular has led to heart wrenching episodes for many women, shattering families in the State.
Childbirths and maternal health issues are also natural phenomenon as well. From this perspective, making accessible maternal health medical care facilities to all must be considered as primary initiative of protecting women and children during the pandemic. Reluctance from the side of the hospital authority to admit women in need of urgent medical attention will eventually result in high maternal mortality.
Measures to get admitted in hospital easier for treatments must be arranged. If safety is the priority, ensuring maternal medical facilities is one of the significant safety initiatives.
Last year, such a sad account opened with the case of Thoudam Malemnganbi @ Abem, 24 years, wife of Thoudam Sanjitkumar 33 yrs from Thoubal Thoudam Mamang Leikai, ward no 3/14, who passed away on Sunday, 2nd August 2020 during her child delivery. When the fear of community transmission in Thoubal district gripped the State, patients, from the said district in particular were denied treatment facilities in hospitals. Such circumstances reduced the family to opt for traditional midwifery putting at risk the lives of many expecting mothers. The case is followed by many other incidents spreading shock waves.
Women, equally from the valley and hill districts were subjected to denial of medical treatment for failing to fulfil the new guidelines provided by the hospitals, as precautionary measures to prevent spread of COVID-19. Sudden complicacies in maternal issues calling for emergency response are not uncommon. Sometimes many cases are more like ‘accident and trauma’ category. It can’t wait for anything. Immediate response is the only alternative to prevent fatality. Making them wait while fulfilling mandatory regulations provided by hospitals is equivalent to inviting complicacies.  
Timely intervention is the appropriate solution. Before any more unwanted incidents traumatise many innocents, steps are needed to provide uninterrupted health care facilities to pregnant women and other maternal health related matters. Such initiatives should not be tagged as ‘overemphasis on women,’ but should be accorded as a step for better understanding the constraints women face due to biological differences. Unless humankind admits the need for special attention towards women during certain natural biological cycles, claims for its protection bear less meaning. Concerted efforts to ensure medical assistance to pregnant women and other maternal health issues should be supported.