A popular saying reads that ‘a daughter is one of the most beautiful gifts this world has to give’. Yes, even though, girl babies were considered a burden in many parts of India earlier, nowadays, things have changed a lot and many parents, particularly fathers are showing interest towards giving birth to a girl baby. This is a positive thing; however, does this attitude exist in all parts of India? No, for instance, a city that is viewed as one of the pioneering cities in the country still see girl babies as burden to parents. The city we are talking about is Pune. Now, we find many girls working in IT sector in this city, but still there is an attitude among young moms approaching him for delivery states Dr. Ganesh Rakh, who has been operating his hospital from the Hadapsar area of this city from the year 2007.
Concern of young mothers:
Dr. Rakh has noticed that most of the mothers going through the labour are concerned about the baby they are going to give birth to whether it is a girl or a boy. The doctor also noticed that even all through the nine months of carrying the baby, they together carry the preference or pressure to have a baby boy as against the girl. The doctor stated that it is really heart-breaking to see mothers feeling highly sad about having girl babies, even though, they do not have any sort of bodily pains after delivery and they literally cry for having given birth to baby girl. On the other hand, they feel highly happy and satisfied and forget all their pain, if the baby born was a boy.
Decided to make a change:
Dr. Ganesh Rakh, a gynecologist in Pune was highly concerned about this situation and he decided that he should make some sort of contribution to bring a change in the minds of people. He came across many situations, where the parents and the relatives of the girl babies demanded for money back after delivery just because they have got a girl baby, while nothing of that sort happened in the case of parents and relatives with boy babies. So, on 3rd January 2012 he made a decision according to which he decided not to collect any fee from the parents, if the baby is a girl.
After his decision in the year 2012, gynaecologist in Pune has waived the fee towards the delivery of more than 432 girl babies so far. Generally, the cost of a normal delivery is Rs.10,000, while that of a C-section is Rs.25000 and after his decision, he has not charged any delivery charges from parents or relatives of girl babies, regardless of the type of delivery. In addition, this doctor, who is highly interested towards women empowerment and his staff distribute sweets to all patients in the hospital, in the case of delivery of a girl baby.
In the words of the doctor:
When talking about this initiative, Dr. Rakh said that this is a small initiative to fight gender bias and the purpose behind this initiative is to change the mindset of people about girl babies. The doctor also added that this initiative received very little response from his colleagues and other specialists working for his hospital, but it took shape just because of his own dedication towards the initiative. He added that the logic behind the free delivery of girl babies is to pay salary to the staff through other services provided at the hospital.
Why do these efforts matter?
Efforts like those made by Dr. Rakh really matters because of the low sex ratio in the country. As per the 2011 censes, there were just 914 females per 1000 males. Even after, initiatives like ban for identifying sex of fetus and multiple awareness programs against killing girl babies, a report submitted by the United Nations in the year 2012 states that India is the deadliest place for the girl baby birth. The report further adds that an Indian girl child in the age group of 1-5 years is at 75% higher risk of death as compared to an Indian boy of the same age group.
This save the girl child initiative from Dr. Ganesh Rakh is something that has caught the attention of many people interested in women empowerment. When talking about the free delivery, he stated that even though, it has affected the income of his hospital, it has never left them to a position to deter him from sticking to his policy. The name of his hospital at Pune is Medicare Hospital Foundation Trust and even though, this website has a banner calling donations from general public towards save girl child scheme, the doctor promised that he has never got any sort of donations from this source for successful running of his policy and initiative towards safeguarding baby girls.
Dr. Rakh stated that he has requested 5000 doctors across the country to join this initiative and not to collect any fee for delivery of girl babies. He stated that the mindset of people should change and as a part of women empowerment initiative, the hospital offers counseling to parents, who do not want the girl baby.
Even though, Dr. Rakh is well-aware of the fact that his step towards ‘save girl child’ scheme is just like the steps of a baby, he states that it will one day make a big difference in the society. He is highly confident that his initiative will surely pay towards women empowerment, when the baby girls getting out of his hospital will one day come out of flying colors, bringing pride not just to their parents, but to their society and the entire nation as well.