Teen In India Forced To Give Birth In The Street

Oliver Brown

Journalist

A 17-year-old girl, from Saraikela-Kharsawan district, in Jharkhand, eastern India, was made to give birth in the street when the nurses at a health center refused her. Previously, she was in a relationship with a man in her village. He left her when she fell pregnant while her family turned their backs on her from fear of being shamed. She was then forced to leave her home - the locals say she had been living on the streets for more than four months.

At around 7pm on Monday, she started going into labour and she went to Chandil Sub Division Hospital, the local health centre. Allegedly, the staff refused to take her in as she had no accompanying guardian. She gave birth to a baby daughter at 5 am the next morning, merely 30 away from the hospital.

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One passer by noticed her bloody clothing and an umbilical cord that was yet to be cut. "'The mother and baby were lying on the street in pain. I put roadblocks around them so that they don't get hit by any vehicle," said local resident Om Prakash Sharma, 50. "A man went to the health centre asking for help but they refused. They said they couldn't admit the girl as she had no guardian to take responsibility for her. We then informed the police."

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Dr Lakhindra Hansda, a medical officer at Chandil Sub Divisional Hospital, came outside and cut the umbilical. Om Prackash managed to summon an auto rickshaw to take the teen and her baby to Chandil Sub Divisional Hospital, where a group of women finally managed to get the two admitted and treated.

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"'Whatever has happened was wrong and unfortunate," said Dr Lalita Kashyap, a medical officer, at Chandil Sub Divisional Hospital. "There were only two nurses at the health centre, who were busy delivering twin babies when we were informed about the girl. There was some confusion but we will certainly look into this."

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The teen mom and her baby are stable and in transition to women's shelter Mahila Suraksha Griha, in Jharkhand. Dr Lakhindra Hansda reports that "Both mother and baby are now doing fine. We will inform her parents and hopefully she will get the support she needs."

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