An abandoned teenager was forced to give birth to her baby on the side of the road after health centre staff refused to help her.
The 17-year-old girl, from Saraikela-Kharsawan district, in Jharkhand, eastern India, was in a relationship with a man in her village when she fell pregnant.
He left the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, when she told him she was pregnant, and her family turned their backs on her fearing they would be shamed.
The young girl was forced to leave home. According to locals, the young girl had been seen living on the streets for over four months.
On Monday, at around 7pm, she started going into labor and approached the local health center, Chandil Sub Divisional Hospital, for help.
But staff allegedly refused to take responsibility for her as she was not accompanied by a guardian.
At 5am, the following morning, the girl gave birth to a daughter on the side of the road, just 30 meters away from the health center.
A passer-by noticed her clothes soaked in blood and an umbilical cord still attached to a baby, and raised an alarm.
Om Prakash Sharma, 50, a resident of the area, said: ‘The mother and baby were lying on the street in pain. I put roadblocks around them so that they don’t get hit by any vehicle.
‘A man went to the health centre asking for help but they refused. They said they couldn’t admit the girl as she had no guardian to take responsibility for her. We then informed the police.’
Eventually Dr Lakhindra Hansda, a medical officer, at Chandil Sub Divisional Hospital, came out to cut the umbilical cord.
Om Prackash managed to hail an auto rickshaw before a group of ladies were able to finally admit the girl and baby into Chandil Sub Divisional Hospital, where the two were eventually treated.
Dr Lalita Kashyap, a medical officer, at Chandil Sub Divisional Hospital, said: ‘Whatever has happened was wrong and unfortunate. There were only two nurses at the health center, who were busy delivering twin babies when we were informed about the girl.
‘There was some confusion but we will certainly look into this.’
The girl and baby are now stable and being shifted to a women’s shelter Mahila Suraksha Griha, in Jharkhand.
Dr Lakhindra Hansda, added: ‘Both mother and baby are now doing fine. We will inform her parents and hopefully she will get the support she needs.’