A matter of Shame..

Today was a lazy Sunday morning. I am used to a few minutes alone time in the morning, in my garden before the household wakes up. Not today! My 5 year old woke up early and followed me out. He played ball, while I tried to do my usual things. Breathe in the fresh morning air and read the papers. Wasn’t to be!

The third time he looked at me with imploring eyes, I couldn’t refuse. So both of us played catch, and the paper lay ignored in a corner. Wasn’t till much later that I got round to it. And when I did,  I wish I hadn’t. I am a regular reader of the newspaper. Am quite used to the acid throws, the molestation and rapes, young women being burnt, old people being murdered, corrupt politician stories that are the staple of  our local dailies. But today’s story left even  me aghast.

A young woman had just delivered a baby girl in a local government hospital and while she rested  a stray dog came into the labor room, picked up the new born baby and left. Nobody even noticed till an onlooker  saw the dog walking into the bushes with the baby, and rushed to rescue her. By the time the baby was recovered she had died.

All this happened while the nurse and a hospital attendant were present in the labor room! To add to the shame the hospital staff  went on to declare that the baby had been born dead.

“India is a poor country” is the favorite government excuse for all the ills that plague this country.  To me it seems that India  has the resources both financial and human that are required to pull it out of its poverty. What it lacks is the political and administrative will. And that’s where India is poor. Its poor in governance and administration.

Moreover its not always the lack of money or resources that are the root cause of such incidents. It is  rather a lack of the softer elements. An absence of empathy and concern for the persons in our care. If the mother on the labor room table was the sister/ daughter of the nurse or attendant in charge. There is no way that the service door would have been left ajar or the baby left on its own to be picked by a hungry dog.

It is an indication of how depraved we are as a society  that after the shameful incident came to light instead of getting sympathy the deranged mom had to fight to prove that she had in fact given birth to a healthy live child.

Lack of resources – we accept and adjust to. But it is much more difficult to accept the  total disregard of  feelings and pain that the government staff’s apathy puts us through. If the government can not ensure that all hospitals and schools  are well equipped with modern technology (as that requires a heavy financial outlay)  can they not at least ensure that each government employee is concerned and sympathetic and caring towards the persons they are serving? Can the policeman who notes a complain not be a little more humane. The teacher who teaches a little more approachable. The doctor who treats a little more caring. The sweeper who cleans a little more  dedicated.

The government pays its workers well. There is a social status involved in working for the government. A government job is secure. Why then is it easier to find more committed and empathetic workers in the private sector?

Its time the government stop blaming lack of financial resources for the poor quality of services provided. Most of the everyday problems that plague us could be solved by focusing on developing  softer skills among government servants. Ensuring better softer skills like empathy, concern, humanity,  respect for people and their life choices can remarkably improve people’s experience of using government services without increasing the cost by even a fraction.

Government has a clear system of training fresh recruits. There is   provision for  mid career training programs, skill enhancement programs etc. All of these opportunities can be utilized effectively to train government employees in the softer skills required by their professions.

Can we look forward to a day when  school teachers in government schools genuinely care about the performance of each child in their class? Or when the ANM really empathizes with the feelings of the unwed pregnant girl in her village? Or when the attendant in the labor room wipes the face of the poor woman who has just undergone a difficult delivery with a wet cloth, holds  her hand and say a kind word or two? And keep an eye on the little one while she rests after her ordeal…

Is that too much to expect?

for full story : link:    http://www.patrika.com/news.aspx?id=683911


for story in english:     http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/Dog-sneaks-into-labour-room-takes-away-newborn/articleshow/10110014.cms


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