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Free treatment for rickshaw-puller’s baby

He was forced to carry one-month-old Damini in a sling while ferrying passengers

Image Credit: Fortis Escort Hospital Healthy signs
One-month-old Damini weighed 1.4kg when she was broughtinto hospital but doctors are delighted with her progress.
Gulf News

New Delhi: There’s ray of hope for the Jaipur-based rickshaw puller’s daughter Damini. The one-month-old baby was admitted to Jaipur Fortis Hospital in a critical condition.

Thirty-four-year-old rickshaw puller Bablu Jatav’s wife died after going into premature labour last month. Since the infant had no one to look after her, the poor father was forced to carry Damini in a sling while ferrying the passengers on the rickshaw through the streets of Bharatpur.

The plight of the father-daughter duo caught public attention and the underweight and anaemic baby was taken to the hospital in critical condition. She remained on a ventilator for some days. As the doctors struggled to save her, the Rajasthan government decided to bear all her medical expenses.

Doctors say Damini is improving. Dr Jaikrishan Mittal, who has been attending to her, told Gulf News, “We are hopeful that her condition would improve further. We have begun feeding her and she is now gaining weight. She has an infection, which needs medication for at least a week.”

According to him, “When Damini was admitted to the hospital, she weighed 1,400 grams. This was a cause of concern for us. But her weight is about to touch at least 2kg. And there will be no need for her to be on the ventilator again.”

Bablu is ecstatic, as people have come forward to support him. He said, “My daughter has come as a blessing. With all the help that I am getting from people, I will now look after the baby well.

“Earlier my concern was only her survival. But though I am illiterate, I have already started thinking about her education and will admit her into a good school. I also want to spread a message across to those who abandon their girl child that girls are not a burden. With the blessings of God, I will now be able to provide her proper food and clothing.”

Bablu said he had no alternative, but to carry the child along after her mother’s death. “Begging was an option, but my conscience did not allow me. I did not want my daughter to grow up on the streets,” he said.

Although NGOs have now offered to help in taking care of Damini for a couple of years, Bablu refuses to leave his daughter’s side. “She is an angel for me. I will bring her up myself,” he said.