PIL on facilities for pregnant women at Govt hospitals: HC seeks Delhi, Center reply
The petitioners have prayed that the authorities ensure the availability of COVID protocol compliant specialized hospitals for pregnant women as well as lactating mothers.
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Tuesday sought response from the Centre government and Delhi government on a petition by four pregnant women who have alleged that they faced severe impediments in accessing basic healthcare facilities in government hospitals and centres during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Justice Rekha Palli issued notice to the Centre and Delhi Government on the petition and granted a week's time to the petitioners to state on affidavit the names of the facilities where adequate services were not given to them.
Lawyer Jayshree Satpute, appearing for the petitioners, stated that there were government-run hospitals where pregnant women were "made to wait while in labour" in order to await their COVID-19 tests and the ASHA workers were also not making visits.
Delhi government counsel stated the 1077 helpline was in operation for pregnant women who were also entitled to a benefit of Rs 5,000, in a staggered manner, after registration with the concerned Anganwadi centre.
In the petition filed through lawyer Tripti Poddar, the petitioners have claimed that they suffered a huge financial burden on account of the government facilities'' inability to provide them health services, such as antenatal checkups and ultrasound, during the pregnancy.
The petition said that the petitioners are entitled to several monetary and non-monetary benefits under the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) and other nutrition and health programs.
However, the authorities were "irresponsibly and recklessly shying away from their duties and obligations", causing grave distress to the petitioners, the petition alleged.
"During the ongoing COVID pandemic the Respondent No. 2 (Delhi Govt)and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have highlighted the increased vulnerability, and susceptibility to pregnant women, lactating mother, and infant children during the ongoing pandemic, yet the Respondents here have failed to implement any tangible measures to ensure safe access to medical facilities to pregnant women during the pandemic,"
The petitioners have prayed that the authorities ensure the availability of COVID-19 protocol compliant specialized hospitals for pregnant women as well as lactating mothers.
It also urged that authorities provide adequate COVID 19 protective gear to frontline health workers to enable them to provide services to pregnant women and lactating mothers during the ongoing COVJD-19 pandemic.
The matter would be heard next on October 28.