Josnaben Vineshbhai Rathwa is 21 years old and resides in the remote village of Khatiyavat in India’s Gujarat State. During the seventh month of Josnaben’s first pregnancy, she started having severe abdominal pains. She asked her husband to take her to her maternal home. As soon as they reached her home, her mother went to call Sudhaben, the ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) of the village.
Sudhaben realized that her patient needed immediate medical attention. Sudhaben called for the Deepak Foundation emergency transport vehicle to take Josnaben to the Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care Unit at Jabugam, 20 kilometers away. This is the nearest facility to Josnaben’s village that provides free emergency obstetric care. While waiting for the vehicle, Sudhaben asked Josnaben to lie down. She then elevated the bed so that Josnaben’s lower body was raised to reduce the bleeding.
Josnaben’s mother and the ASHA accompanied her to Jabugam. As the specialist was not available, the nurse advised them to go to the District Hospital, since she could tell Josnaben’s condition would require blood transfusion and specialized care. They went to Vadodara District Hospital in the ambulance provided by the Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care Unit at Jabugam. When Josnaben reached the hospital, the Help Desk was ready to receive her. The Help Desk is a Public-Private Partnership of the Deepak Foundation and the Government of Gujarat that offers support to emergency patients referred from rural areas.
Josnaben was immediately admitted and taken to the delivery room. The doctor reported that both mother and child were in critical condition. Josnaben delivered a baby girl who had very low birth weight and was severely anemic. They stayed for twenty days at the District Hospital, and the Help Desk staff supported them throughout their stay, helping them procure blood, necessary immunizations, and medicines. Josnaben was fortunate that her husband, mother and elder sister were with her to support her and the baby.
Josnaben and her family members had to travel about 80-100 kilometers from their home for obtaining treatment. Obstetric emergency care services, along with blood transfusion facilities, should be available nearer to the homes of women.