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The Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi Government to ensure that a helpline number is set up for the benefit of pregnant ladies in the city. (SAMA vs UOI & Ors)
Directng for adequate publicity of the helpline number in newspapers and social media, the Court ordered,
The order was passed by a Division Bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad in a petition preferred by SAMA-Resource Group for Women and Health.
The Petitioner sought to highlight the denial of healthcare, and more specifically, denial of delivery/child birth services to pregnant women in Delhi and the barriers faced by them and their families in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown declared by the Central and the State Government.
The Petitioner submitted that services in relation to care during pregnancy and child birth were exempted from the list of prohibited activities/services during the period of lockdown, even in areas which have been declared as containment zones/hotspots.
It was the Petitioner's case that in spite of extensive Guidelines laid down by the Central government with respect to care during pregnancy, the services on ground were not readily available.
The Petitioner thus sought proper coordination between the Central and State Government so that a Nodal Officer is appointed in every COVID-19 hotspot along with a dedicated helpline for pregnant women seeking essential health services, such as arranging transportation to and from the hospital, securing movement passes, etc.
On instructions, the counsel for Delhi Government stated that there were no objection to setting up a helpline for pregnant women.
The Court was informed that an Asha worker was assigned for every pregnant lady to assist her during the pregnancy and since auxilary nurse midwives (ANMs) were attached to the Health Centres, wherever there was a need, an Asha worker could contact the ANMs directly for rendering necessary assistance to pregnant ladies.
In response to the Petitioner's contention that ANMs were not readily available for assistance as they had been redirected to COVID-19 related duties, the Delhi Government assured the Court that sufficient number of Asha workers and ANMs would be made available in their respective areas.
The Central Government also assured the Court that necessary compliance shall be made and the coordination between the Asha workers and ANMs shall be seamless.
In view of the above, the Petition was disposed of with directions issued to Delhi Government to ensure that the helpline number is set up for pregnant ladies.
The Petitioner was represented by Advocate Vrinda Grover with Advocate Ratna Appender.
Central Government was represented by Standing Cousnel Rakesh Gogna.
Delhi Government was represented by Advocates Anupam Srivastava, Dhairya Gupta.
Read the Order: