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Birthrights
Promila: 'It costs money to use a hospital'
Promila's son Raja is two months old. He is her third child. Her first two died and Raja has been ill for a month.
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2011 13:59
Promila lost her first two children and is concerned about the health of her third [Save the Children]

"I wanted to have my baby at home. My husband didn't allow me to go to a hospital. Hospitals are no good, they treat us quite badly when we go there. It costs money to use a hospital, and if they are so good, why couldn't they save my son?

My son, Arjun, we lost him to pneumonia. Or typhoid, maybe. I don't remember what they said. They couldn't save him. The first child, before Arjun, I lost just a few hours within delivery. They told me the baby was upside down in my stomach and he didn't come out properly. But the hospital could have done more for Arjun. He was only three months old when he died.

Raja is two months old now. He has been ill for a month. He has a constant cold and he has trouble breathing. I don't know if he's going to get any better. I will take him to the mobile clinic and hopefully they will give us some medicine that will work. I'm so worried about him. I've already lost two children. I hope God does not take this one away from me as well. I don't know what I have done to deserve this fate. I hope Raja will be okay.

My husband works on construction sites, he earns quite a lot. We own the house we live in now. There's nothing we need – I just want my baby to live and to be healthy. I've been married for about 12 years and this is only my third child. I was married at 10 or 12. I don't seem to get pregnant as often as the other women around me.

I began living with my husband straight after my marriage, but I only had my first period three years later. I remember when it happened, there was blood in my urine, and I got very upset because I thought I was very ill. I went running to ask the local doctor about it. Then my neighbour stopped me from going, she said that it is normal, it happens to all women. She told me that I could now have a child.

I want to make sure that Raja is vaccinated against polio. I heard there's a clinic somewhere here where it can be done. I am not sure if he is well enough, though. I will ask the doctor there what he thinks. Can you tell me where the clinic is?"

Sanjay Colony is a settlement of migrant families in North Delhi, where living spaces are overcrowded and there is no sanitation. A single room usually serves as the kitchen, bedroom, bathing area and even toilet. Smoking fires indoors can cause pneumonia and other respiratory diseases in children.

India has the highest number of cases of childhood pneumonia in the world. It accounts for over 19 per cent of all newborn deaths. The other major killer of children is diarrhoea.

Nearly two million children under five die every year in India from easily preventable diseases - more than any other country in the world.

Click here for more on Save the Children's work in India.

Source:
Save the Children
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