Pregnant woman in Indonesia loses baby after Covid-19 test delays labour care

MATARAM CITY, WEST NUSA TENGGARA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - An Indonesian woman was forced to accept the reality that her baby had died in her womb because Covid-19 test requirements had delayed the labour care she needed to deliver the baby, her family said.

Ms Gusti Ayu Arianti, a resident of Pejanggik subdistrict in Mataram City, the capital of the West Nusa Tenggara province, went to a local hospital on Tuesday morning (Aug 18) after her water broke.

The 23-year-old requested that the medical team immediately handle her but was asked to first take a Covid-19 rapid test at a different location instead.

She said the hospital did not provide a rapid test service and so she had to travel to a community health centre (Puskesmas) to take one.

"My water had broken. I had lost a lot of blood since I was at home, but I was not immediately treated," Ms Gusti was quoted by as saying on Wednesday.

She said she was disappointed because she had not been informed about the rapid test requirement during her prenatal examinations.

Ms Gusti then headed for the Pagesangan Puskesmas with her husband and mother for a rapid test.

There, she entered the delivery room but was not immediately checked.

She was even asked to join the queue of test takers before her husband complained and she was allowed to proceed immediately.

She asked a doctor to check on her womb, but was told to wait for the test result, which took 30 minutes.

Ms Gusti returned home while her mother waited for the test result at Puskesmas. But when she returned to the hospital, it did not acknowledge her test certificate as it did not attach the test kit. She had to take another test.


The doctor who eventually attended to her initially said the the unborn baby's heart rate was weak.

Ms Gusti underwent a C-section but the baby boy, who was to have been named I Made Arsya Prasetya Jaya, was declared dead.

The doctor claimed the baby had died in the womb a few days earlier, which the family denied.

"If he died seven days ago, it would be dangerous for the mother, and there would be some putrefaction. But the (body) did not stink at all and looked fresh. The doctor's diagnosis is questionable," said Ms Gusti's father, Mr Ketut Mahajaya.

Wira Bhakti Mataram Army Hospital head Yudi Akbar Manurung confirmed that Ms Gusti had visited the hospital but claimed that she chose not to take a rapid test at the hospital because it was not free of charge.

"Our officers explained to her that she is a public patient, so the rapid test is not free, unless (taken) at the Puskesmas or the Mataram Regional General Hospital. We told her that, and she finally went to the Puskesmas," Mr Yudi said on Thursday.


West Nusa Tenggara Health Agency head Eka Nurhandini said a rapid test was mandatory for pregnant women about to give birth in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

She said the rapid test would determine how the medical workers handled mothers who are giving birth.