Updated: May 19, 2021 5:12:05 am
Rinkalben Meyatra (28), at Thangadh in Surendranagar, went into labour as Cyclone Taukate was about to hit Amreli, with wind speed at over 100 kilometre per hour (kmph). The stormy night, however, proved to be lucky, as hours later she delivered a healthy boy, weighing 2.8 kilograms.
The first child of the Meyatra couple comes after Rinkalben suffered two miscarriages and a stillbirth.
It was made possible by tireless work by ground-level health workers assisted by technology, repeated counselling, helping hand from neighbours and a community health centre.
On May 16, during a video conference with officials to chalk out strategy in view of Cyclone Tauktae, District Collector K Rajesh raised three priorities — ensuring primary emergency treatment, management of pregnant women due for delivery and managing Covid-19 patients.
While shifting nearly 18-20 patients from two Covid care centres to Gandhi Hospital and CU Shah Hospital in the district was easier, taking care of the other two posed a challenge.
Tushar Patadiya (30), multipurpose healthworker at Thangadh, who had been engaged in Covid-19 work, was put on surveillance duty of the three vulnerable groups. “We identified 18 pregnant women from Thangadh taluka villages and 14 pregnant women from the city, who were in the 10-day range of estimated due date (EDD) of delivery. We got this data from TeCHO application,” Patadiya said.
TeCHO is a mobile phone-based software, where ASHA workers and field-level heathworkers make data entries in real-time of population surveyed for various health indicators.
However, with disruption in electricity supply and phone networks, a manual list with all details was also kept ready. The workers then called each of the 32 women and listed those with EDD window of a day or two. The calls involved extensive counselling on seeking immediate help on any change in their condition.
“We identified two women in the city and two from villages, who were in this window. For them, we started house visits from May 16. Rinkalben was especially vulnerable, given her past miscarriages and stillbirth. She was living in a makeshift home, which posed greater danger for her and her unborn child. So we counselled her and spoke to a neighbour with a pucca house who agreed to accommodate her,” said Patadiya.
“On May 17 morning we again visited her and reminded to inform us about any signs,” Patadiya added.
The Meyatra couple, who are daily wage labourers, was keen on delivery at a private facility. “We told her ‘we will take you to a private facility, but inform us so that we could make necessary arrangements’. We again visited her at around 5 pm on May 17,” Patadiya said.
Around 8.30 pm on Monday, Rinkalben started experiencing minor labour pain and was brought to the Thangadh CHC. “There was power cut and we worked with torchlights while preparing her for the delivery,” he said.
At 2.15 am, the baby was born and in the next 12 hours, as the storm passed over Surendranagar district, both mother and child were back at home. Dr Chirag Dewani, a 23-year-old intern doctor, who assisted in the delivery said the procedure was broadly without any complications.
In Junagadh, a six-month-old pregnant woman, who was at the Mendarda CHC, had to be shifted to a tertiary facility. Five other pregnant women in Junagadh were shifted to a tertiary facility by 108 ambulances.
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