A story of hope for two tiny girls as the building blocks of a bright future are laid for others
As firm supporters of all that The Duncan Hospital do to advance the health and education of girls and women in India, we would love to share an uplifting story.
Early last year a woman was bought in to the hospital to give birth. Paediatrician Blessy Suchi recalled in her blog, “When 25yr old Manasa (name changed) was wheeled into the labor room. She looked more like she was in her 50s, severely emaciated and anaemic. She had never received any antenatal care and on examination was found to have a twin pregnancy with severe foetal distress. Without wasting a single moment, the obstetrician rushed the woman to the theatre and got out the twins surgically. I was called for resuscitating the twins. The two girl babies were lying there not breathing without a heart beat. CPR was given, and resuscitation begun, it was over an hour before the babies were stabilised. There was a great relief for all of us involved to hear them cry for the first time.”
Unfortunately, Manasa could not be saved and Blessy and staff were saddened but not surprised when her husband and family rejected the twin girls and abandoned them at The Duncan, a common occurrence in a country where boys remain highly prized above girls. Blessy named the twins Aradhna and Prarthana before handing them over to a government orphanage, with a heavy heart.
Fast forward a year, and the most wonderful news arrives from Blessy, “I just want to share something amazing. You remember Aradhana and Prarthna, who we have all prayed about. All of us were very broken and never knew what happened to them since. But a few days ago one of the incharges of the home told us that they were adopted and are in safe hands . Praise God, He did not reject our prayers.”
She shared with us a wonderful video of the little girls now, healthy, laughing and clearly adored. Although we not able to share this online it was truly heart-warming to see.
Blessy’s fear for the twins was not unfounded in a country in which it is estimated that 200,000 girls under the age of five die each year. According to a recent study, researchers estimate there will be 6.8million fewer female births recorded across the country by 2030. To underline this, in 2019 official data revealed that of 947 children born across 500 villages in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand, that of 200 of these births in 132 of these villages, none was a female child. Pre-elective abortion although illegal remains common, as the practice of revealing the sex of an unborn child is still widespread although it was also banned in 1994.
Although various Government initiatives have been put in place, female education in India at every level, also lags far behind males. Literacy rates sit at around 69.1% countrywide. Nowhere is the disparity more pronounced between the sexes than in rural India where female literacy rates (56.8%) clearly lag behind those of males (72.3%).
That is why The Duncan Hospital’s work to care for the health and support the education of women is so important. The next big project the DHCT is funding is the building of a Nursing School and Accomodation block. Work was postponed last year due to our need to divert funds for PPE, equipment and funding staff families during the corona pandemic but it is hoped that building work will now begin. We will be announcing more details next week including fantastic news about match-funding for the project.
The wonderful video of the twins laughing and loved this week just underlines once more for us the importance of giving The Duncan the means to give local girls the chance of a bright future. Head to our website to find out more. Or follow the Duncan Hospital Charitable Trust on Facebook