In Bali, a National Health Tragedy
Made Arya Kencana
Denpasar. The birth of a mother’s first child is often an extraordinary experience.
But for Siti Munawaroh, an impoverished single mother who grabbed national headlines when she offered to sell her baby to cover her medical bills, that experienced quickly turned into a nightmare, leaving her with a dead child and a debt she has little chance of repaying.
Munawaroh gave birth to a girl at Sari Dharma Hospital in Denpasar on July 3. But it wasn’t long after that when things started to go horribly wrong. Her husband, who had reportedly been married seven times, deserted her and returned to his sixth wife.
The hospital then refused to release the woman or her daughter until the delivery bill was paid. The hospital eventually relented, but only under a wave of public condemnation.
But by then the baby’s lungs had become infected and she was transferred to Sanglah General Hospital, where she eventually succumbed to the illness and died on July 26.
Munawaroh’s bill at Sanglah General Hospital reached Rp 30 million ($3,300), an impossible sum for the woman, who has since disappeared.
With the baby’s body still in the hospital’s morgue, Sanglah spokesman I Gusti Ngurah Agung Putu Putra Wibawa said the hospital would “help on the matter of the debt,” but he did not say by how much.
“The important thing is that she takes the body of her child,” Putra said.
He said the hospital had contacted the police to help locate Munawaroh, but their efforts had so far been unsuccessful.