5 deaths in 6 months: sex workers seek ambulances in red light area

Commercial sex workers (CSWs) living in the red light area of Budhwar Peth are struggling to get emergency medical services. Under the aegis of Kayakalp, an NGO working in the citys red light area for controlling HIV infection, the CSWs have decided to take up their plight again with the top government authorities and elected representatives.

Indian Express

Commercial sex workers (CSWs) living in the red light area of Budhwar Peth are struggling to get emergency medical services. Under the aegis of Kayakalp, an NGO working in the citys red light area for controlling HIV infection, the CSWs have decided to take up their plight again with the top government authorities and elected representatives.

“In the past also, the CSWs had met various authorities, including district collector, PMC and elected representatives, demanding at least proper ambulance service, but nothing happened. Now, on their behalf, we will again meet the authorities,” said Seema Waghmode, chief of Kayakalp.

On August 12, a 25-year-old visitor in the area died of heart attack. “A doctor working with the NGO tried to resuscitate him when he fell unconscious, but of no avail. We tried calling up various ambulance services in the city, but it arrived after 45 minutes,” said Waghmode. Faraskhana police inspector Venkat Gangalwad said the post-mortem report revealed that the youth died of a heart-attack. “If it was a heart attack, it was quite possible to revive a patient. But due to absence of an urgent ambulance service, nothing could be done,” Waghmore said.

In the last six months, volunteers said at least five similar deaths have been reported from the area and all of them before they could be shifted to the hospital. Police too said such deaths are common in the area.

A couple of days after the youth died, a sex worker went into labour. “It was a traumatic experience for her as she had developed complications. It was a miracle that both baby and mother survived,” said Waghmode. The ambulance arrived half an hour late.

The problem in the area, said Waghmode, is that no vehicle, not even autorickshaws are available. “Hardly any utility vehicle passes through the area. That is why sex workers have been demanding that at least two permanent ambulances be stationed in the area,” she said. “We have met civic chiefs, corporators, MLAs, but no one is responding,” she said, adding that next week they will meet PMC chief, district collector and local MLAs asking for at least a well-equipped ambulance service.

Advocate Aseem Saroade said, “It is not only a violation of human rights, but also highlights bad governance by civic officials.”



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