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Clinic slammed after woman gives birth alone outside
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Woman forced to give birth alone outside

05:30 AEST Mon Oct 7 2013
AAP

Mexico's ombudsman has opened an investigation after an indigenous woman gave birth alone in the garden of a public clinic, sparking a social media storm.

A witness's picture, published on social media and newspapers, shows 28-year-old Irma Lopez, kneeling and crying with the boy on the lawn still attached to the umbilical cord outside the health centre in the southern state of Oaxaca.

The incident caused outrage, with Mexicans taking to Twitter to denounce it as a new example of the poor quality of health care in impoverished parts of the country and the discrimination indigenous groups face.

The office of Raul Plascencia, head of the National Human Rights Commission, said in a statement an investigation was opened into the alleged abuse of the ethnic mazateca woman who gave birth in a garden "because she was denied medical attention".

The Oaxaca state human rights office also launched a probe over the October 2 incident at the health centre in San Felipe Jalapa de Diaz, a town of 6000 people.

"We have repeatedly detected anomalies in the health sector in Oaxaca, and mainly offences against indigenous women or women who live in marginalised areas of the state," Oaxaca State Human Rights Commission president Arturo Pemibert told AFP.

The director of the health centre, Adrian Cruz, told reporters the incident took place "due to the lack of medical personnel, because the doctor on morning duty arrives at 8am and the woman arrived at the clinic at 7.30."

Cruz said the woman asked to be examined but since the doctor had not arrived, the nurse told her to wait.

"But she was embarrassed that they saw that she was feeling discomfort and she left the waiting room. I think that labour began at that moment, which is why she gave birth outside the clinic," Cruz said.

San Felipe Jalapa de Diaz Mayor Silvia Flores said it was the second such case this year after another woman gave birth to a girl in the clinic's garden in July "because there was no personnel on duty".

In both cases, the babies were declared in good health.

The majority of Mexico's 14 million indigenous peoples - out of a national population of 118 million - live in Oaxaca.

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