Delivering good news in turbulent times: 21 babies born in Punjab’s flood-affected villages

Monsoon fury may have brought bad news for the state, but there is also good news in such turbulent times.

Goga Rani (35) of Teja Ruhela village of Fazilka district was in her seventh month of pregnancy. As she started getting mild pains on July 14, the heavy rain-triggered floodwater had entered the fields of her village. Her husband Shanta Singh said, “We went to a private hospital in Fazilka where she delivered a premature baby boy. The newborn has been kept in a nursery for now, but Goga Rani is staying at a relative’s place in Ganju Hasta village, about 5 km from the hospital. At present, the floodwater is surrounding our village, so Goga Rani will stay there only till the situation becomes normal. This is our first child after nine years of marriage. The doctors told us that the baby will be kept in the nursery for a few more weeks. We keep enquiring about the child on a daily basis as regular visit to the nursery is not allowed to avoid infection.”

Simar Kaur (35) of Ram Singh Wala Bhaini village of Fazilka gave birth to twin girls on July 11 through normal delivery at Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, Faridkot. Simar Kaur was discharged along with her newborns. “Although her village is also inundated with floodwater, Simar is back in her house and is nursing her babies. As she was carrying twins, her delivery was done in Faridkot. Both the mother and daughters are in good health,” said Surinder Kaur, an accredited social health activist (ASHA), who was looking after Simar. This was Simar’s second child.

Surjit Kaur (20) of Mojam village delivered a baby girl on July 15 at Fazilka Civil Hospital, while Jasvir Kaur (24) of the same village gave birth to a baby boy on July 12. This was their first delivery. This village is also situated in a risky zone as it is on the banks of the Sutlej, but the water hasn’t yet reached the village. For now both women are in their village along with their newborns.

Talking to The Indian Express, Fazilka Deputy Commissioner Senu Kapila Duggal said, “Since July 1, about dozen villages of our district close to Pakistan border have been on high alert. They get flooded on a regular basis whenever the swollen Sutlej’s water reaches downstream. So, we got a list of pregnant women made from these high-risk villages and kept an eye on their condition. A total of 20 women delivered in July and we are glad that all the 21 babies (one woman had twins) and their mothers are in good health.”

Dr Satish Goyal, civil surgeon, Fazilka, said, “Another 42 expectant mothers are likely to deliver in a few weeks. Our ASHAs are monitoring them.”

The health department claimed that it had sent 15 days advance diet for the pregnant, lactating mothers and kids (aged six months to three years) in the flood-affected villages. This included ‘dalia’, roasted gram, ‘chana daal’ and ‘mithi fulliyan’.

Likewise, one Seema Rani also delivered a baby girl on July 2. “Now, our task is to monitor the health of babies as once the floodwater recedes, there is a possibility of spread of waterborne diseases,” said ASHA Surinder Kaur.

Also, a high-risk pregnant woman from flood-hit Bhunder Bhaini village of Sangrur was shifted to Civil Hospital, Sunam, on Sunday afternoon. The village is badly hit by floods due to breach in Ghaggar river. An NDRF team first took the woman in a boat and subsequently she was taken in an ambulance to the Civil Hospital, Sunam. “She is in a stable condition now,” said Dr Inderjit Singh who monitored the patient.

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