“I really don’t know when I will be able to see my husband . I’m always hungry,” Guddu says. At this stage of the pregnancy, most women should eat all kinds of food, ” she adds. “I saw at a film once that a pregnant woman needed to eat ice cream at night and they travelled across town because of it. I don’t have two square meals per day,” Guddu rues.
Eventually, the family of Gulshan decided to transfer her into a private hospital in Kesat, a further 30 kilometers away. Her illness had worsened, when doctors managed to operate on the girl. Gulshan gave birth. Depressed at having lost her firstborn, Gulshan now blames the authorities imposed lockdown that is coronavirus .
Gulshan is one of many girls affected by the lockdown levied on March 24 to contain the spread of COVID-19. Since the Tablighi Jamaat fiasco in the Nizamuddin in March of Delhi, many pregnant women across India have reported still-births along with other medical services due to denial of discrimination services and neglect .
Guddu’s husband Ramesh is a daily wage worker in Delhi. Ramesh has been stuck in a room in the Punjabi Bagh of Delhi Together with cross border movement on March 24 cutting off. Jobless and penniless, Ramesh who worked as a construction worker, has neither been able to return home nor has he managed to send some money home for almost two months. Their savings now are over.
Guddu is among the tens of thousands of girls who are either pregnant amid the coronavirus pandemic. Like many, she is facing the brunt. Maintaining social distancing is critical to contain COVID-19’s community transmission.
However, Islamophobia isn’t the sole way in which coronavirus has influenced expecting and new mothers in India.
Gulshan Khatoon Bihar, of village Basta, went into labour in the wee hours of April 29. Pregnant with her first kid nine months, Gulshan was taken about six kilometers from her dwelling, to the hospital, Simri PHC. A migrant worker, her husband, was stuck in Mumbai due to this COVID-19 lockdown.
After she reached the hospital that night 3 am, despite being in labor, Gulshan was denied entrance and made to wait out for 2 hours. Her family along with gulshan pleaded with the doctor on duty but he and other hospital employees refused to treat the girl because she was Muslim. Desperate for treatment, the family of Gulshan took her at Buxar, which was 30 km away to the district hospital. The family was able a jeep to travel.
Far from being over, but after reaching Buxar, the trauma of Gulshan was. Before admitting the woman, the Buxar hospital asked for blood tests and ultrasound. Gulshan’s family took her to a centre and managed to get blood tests performed through the day since these facilities were not accessible in the hospital. The hospital, however, refused to acknowledge Gulshan with no ultrasound report.
Tucked away in Baragaon village in Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi district, 28-year-old Guddu Devi creates a paste out of onions and chillies, applies it to two dry rotis, and eats them with salt each night before bed. The meal is nothing in comparison to what she sees women eat in public service advertisements, tv advertisements and films. But at eight months of pregnancy, Guddu has nothing better to consume.
It was just after an NGO got end of his illness and offered to assist that Ramesh could manage to receive some meals. The activists also managed to send food her family in Jhansi and Guddu. “However, how long will a couple kilos of grain last?” A distressed Guddu asks.
The cases also have worn the health care services sparse with reports of negligence.
To several helplines, her husband Ramesh has made frantic calls in the past couple of weeks . “I have no clue how to return. The last few times I attempted to venture into the channel or cross the border , I had been beaten by authorities” he says. With work Ramesh was hungry in Delhi while his spouse, mother and two-year-old daughter starved at home. He does not have any idea about the trains that were started by the Delhi government to ferry back migrant workers .