Birth pangs

gender consciousness is extremely low. In day-to-day life and discourse, we find that even as women have an exalted status in theory, they are the worse of the marginalized population in real life.
A case in point of this is the provisions and access to health care in general and to specialized maternity healthcare in particular.
The evocatively named hospital, Lal Ded, far from being a tribute to the greatest woman of Kashmir, has come to symbolize disrespect to her and indeed to every woman in the valley and the world. It brings into disrepute not only the medical profession but also the sensitivity and sensibility of the Kashmiri society at large. To put it mildly, it is a disgrace.
Notwithstanding the fact that women have children all the time all over the world, when the women in Kashmir go through childbirth, it is not just frightening but astonishing.
As it is the whole process of child delivery is difficult, painful and dangerous. What we do by lack of adequate and basic facilities is to make it next to impossible for anyone to survive. So many things could go wrong, and yet somehow they don’t, most of the time. This is nothing short of a miracle.
Our lead story brings to light the plight of those mothers and newborns who get medical help during and after their births. Imagine what it will be for those who have no access to even this kind of help.
By treating the women the way we do during the most personal and complicated phase of their lives, we exhibit the lack of respect and dignity towards them. This aside, if this is the shameful manner we welcome the “new life” amidst ourselves, what do we expect from that life in future?  It is not an issue of obstetric or gynecological medicine. Surely the onus lies on the health department and the medical fraternity but its participation goes beyond their confines. It is a social issue and needs more than mere health reforms to resolve. True, the policy makers have to assess the way the maternity health care is organised, financed, and delivered in our state. But the real solution will come only if there is a social change; indeed a socio-cultural revolution. It may start at the doctor’s doorstep, but it lands up at the door of each of us.

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