My daughter and I were accompanying a relative of ours who was supposed to give birth in the Beni Mellal hospital. We got there at nightfall, and other pregnant women were already waiting their turn in the most deplorable conditions. They were spread out on the floor, without even a stretcher beneath them.
Each time a new patient arrived, a nurse would come check her dilation to evaluate how long it would take for her to give birth. After this brief examination, the patients would stay in the hallway, as can been seen in the video, waiting to give birth. And it’s only at the very last moment that they would be admitted into the delivery room and finally be put in a bed.
Meanwhile, the nurses were extremely rude and demeaning. When one of the patients cried out for help, some of the nurses would say, “Those who want to die are welcome to do so!” The only thing they did, from time to time, was give us wet cloths to cool the faces of the women we were trying to help. And when we became frustrated with the lack of care and started to complain, they accused us of showing a wilful lack of respect toward a civil servant. These future mothers were completely at the mercy of the nurses. As for the doctors, we did not even see them till just before the moment of birth.
"Patients face similar conditions in all public hospitals in Morocco"
Unfortunately, I can’t say I was surprised about the poor levels of care in this hospital. And while it is true that the Beni Mellal hospital has received negative news coverage in the past due to its particularly deplorable level of care, patients face similar conditions in all public hospitals in Morocco. Only low-income Moroccans go to public hospitals; those from the middle or upper classes prefer to go to private clinics. In the Beni Mellal hospital, the medical personnel take advantage of the fact that people are poor and illiterate, and treat them inhumanely. This is particularly the case for the obstetrics ward, which is always crowded, as the Berber women in the region have not been educated about contraceptive methods. At greater rates than their male counterparts, these women are illiterate and do not know their rights.