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Friday, June 29, 2007

Father forced to deliver baby due to HIV stigma

Meerut, June 29 - Rahees Abbas, a slum dweller in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut city, was forced to help his wife deliver a baby after doctors at the Meerut Medical College refused to attend to his HIV infected pregnant wife.

Sunita, 28, was rushed to the hospital late Wednesday night, but her husband alleged that doctors and other staff did not allow her to be taken to the labour ward.

'The hospital administration and doctors asked me to take her to Delhi or anywhere else. They said we would spread the deadly disease to others in the hospital,' Abbas said.

'They threatened to hand us over to the police,' he added.

When the situation became critical, Abbas was forced to help his wife deliver as doctors stood aside giving him instructions.

'The doctors came to the labour room and asked me to pull out the baby and then cut the umbilical cord. I followed their instructions and after that they asked me to clean up all the blood and burn the waste,' Abbas recounted.

Sunita, who delivered a baby boy, said: 'I was in pain but no doctor came forward. My baby could have died due to negligence of the hospital. They didn't even give any facility like blankets or food.'

Abbas complained that after the birth of his baby, no doctor even asked about the 'health of either the child or the mother'.

Taking note of the incident, Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society - said the district administration has started an inquiry into the allegations.

'The case is very unfortunate and if found guilty we will recommend the state government to take strong action against the doctors,' UPSAC chief S.P. Goyal told IANS.

There are 21,399 people infected with HIV in Uttar Pradesh and 3,053 full-blown AIDS patients.

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