New mothers at Ponneri hospital find books to be a stress buster

A new mother reads a book at Ponneri Government Hospital in Thiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu. Photo: Special Arrangement

A new mother reads a book at Ponneri Government Hospital in Thiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu. Photo: Special Arrangement  

A library in the maternity ward of the Ponneri Government Hospital has proved a hit with patients

A shelf of books is not quite what one would expect in a maternity ward, with its buzz of new borns, anxious mothers and hovering grandmothers.

But at the Ponneri Government Hospital, Chief Medical Officer S. Anurathna has initiated a novel form of therapy — a library of over 500 books — to help patients tide over their stay in the hosptial.

“This is a hospital with 104 beds. Usually women who get admitted for delivery stay in the hospital for nearly 10 days. And there are other inpatients, too. I noticed that most of them were fiddling with their mobile phones to kill time,” says Dr. Anurathna.

Around two years ago, she decided to start a library. “I donated 100 books from the library in my house and gradually many others started donating books. Many of the inpatients, who had dropped the reading habit after school, now borrow books and return them when they are discharged,” she adds.

The range is eclectic — from Tamil novels and books on health and family welfare published by the government to Kalki’s classic set Ponniyin Selvan and inspirational books on former president Abdul Kalam, Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Vivekananda and a few English books — there is no dearth of choice on the shelves.

The literary therapy has got a positive response from the patients. “Most of them are under some kind of fear or stress when they get admitted. Many have told me that they find peace while reading the books. Some women said they were encouraged to pursue higher education after picking up the reading habit again,” adds Dr. Anurathna.

“Now the nurses and doctors in the hospital also borrow the books. They all have noticed changes in their stress levels and attitude towards life,” a pleased Dr. Anurathna says.

The doctor says that she will promote reading whenever and wherever possible. “I was able to come up in life because my teachers instilled the reading habit in me during my school days. It can help others too, especially the younger generation,” she adds.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 8:54:20 AM |

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