Amid the challenges of the second wave of covid 19, RDT Kalyandurg Hospital has continued to offer an essential service for all pregnant women: medical check-up and assistance in childbirth.
“I have three children, and this will be the second time I give birth at the Kalyandurg Hospital” says Gangamma, who is in the maternity ward waiting for her contractions to be more frequent so that she can be transferred to the labour room. “There are many more women today than there was the day I had my second child, but the nurses and the doctor are treating me just as well, and that gives me confidence”, Gangamma assures as she nods.
In May 2021, when India was severely hit by the second wave of covid pandemic, the RDT Hospital in Kalyandurg cared for hundreds of women, giving birth to 982 new lives. “We have never had so many deliveries in a single month”, says Dr Jyoshna with pride, Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Kalyandurg Hospital. In the face of any catastrophe, deliveries never stop. There are many women who always need medical facilities for a safe delivery without putting their lives or the babies’ at risk.
With the arrival of a second wave that suffocated the country, thousands of hospitals along the territory were designated exclusively for the treatment of COVID-19. This forced thousands of people to travel more kilometres to find a health centre to go to. Jayalakshmi was one of them. “I live in Bommeparthy about 13km from the RDT Bathalapalli Hospital, where I always attend to do the monthly check-ups”, she explains. When the RDT hospital was reassigned as an exclusive COVID-19 centre, the area team leader of her town contacted Jayalakshmi and explained that the Kalyandurg Hospital would remain open every day, 24 hours, with medical professionals who could attend any emergency or query she could have.
“I have not had any check-ups since February because Kalyandurg is more than 70 km from my town, and to go, I have to catch the bus very early since at noon the curfew begins and public transport stops working”, she explains. She has been feeling well over the last few months as she had already been going to check-ups at Bathalapalli before the second wave erupted. There, her trusted doctor had explained and advised her everything she should do to stay healthy and strong during pregnancy.
“Contrary to what might be expected in a pandemic context, here at our hospital, we have not detected deterioration in the health of pregnant women who have been arriving every day”, explains Dr Jyoshna. In the beginning, everything could point to the fact that due to a smaller number of health centres available and the mobility restrictions that make it more challenging to reach them, the health of many women could be seriously affected. But, as the Head of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department highlighted, before the second wave of COVID-19 arrived, most of the patients regularly attended their check-ups and were already informed about the medicines that needed to be taken.
As many women in the Anantapur district still needed the essential services of the gynaecology department, the Kalyandurg Hospital was reorganized. “We had set up one more waiting delivery room and increased the number of beds in the two other wards that we use regularly”, explains Dr Jyoshna. In addition, the shifts and the distribution of tasks were restructured, which significantly increased the work pressure as they did not have many personnels to deal with this surge in deliveries.
“Even though there are a few of us, I am proud to say that we are a great team. We have worked very hard and tirelessly to be able to offer the best service to all the women who came to the hospital every day”, admits Dr Jyoshna. Women and nurses were in and out of the delivery room relentlessly. One delivery after another. Without respite. Kalyandurg Hospital went from handling over 20 deliveries a day to almost double. “We have attended 982 deliveries, and I am very proud of my team, although I would have liked if the numbers had reached to 1000”, jokes the Head Nurse, Vanaja, while admitting how happy it makes her to think that so many new lives have arrived amid this dreadful pandemic.
Kalyandurg Hospital has not only cared for 982 women during the second wave, outpatient care continued to operate 24 hours a day. “More than 450 women came for check-ups daily”, explains the doctor. The team had to make sure that they cared for all the moms who were in labour and simultaneously monitor all those who visited for health check-ups. “We have conducted deliveries; we have attended check-ups, taken test samples… We are very capable, and we are very strong. And I am happy to see that together with my team, we can achieve anything”, says Vanaja.
Text: Nuria Navarro/RDT