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#India- Tribal Women left in Lurch as Maternal Halth Scheme Fails #Vaw

22 June 2013 |
Ajit Kumar Panda

Khariar, Dist-Nuapada, Odisha, India, Pioneer

The Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) has completely gone off the track in Nuapada district with many tribal women failing to get any benefit and suffering most during the pre and post delivery stages.

A visit to the Primary Health Centre (PHC) of Sunabeda panchayat unraveled the bitter truth. About 270 bottles of sodium chloride, 40 bottles of sodium and dextrose injections, 50 small bottles of albendazole oral solutions, 100 metronidazole injections, hundreds of packets of ORS and oral hydration salts and thousands of metronidazole tablet strips and many other medicines worth lakhs of rupees were lying scattered on the ground of the hospital.

All the medicines had crossed their expiry dates, which the officials had not been able to distribute among the patients. The junk dressing beds and operation tables were lying in a corner.

“The health centre is not running for more than four years,” said Kali Suar of Sunabeda. The staff members are staying at Bhela and Komna health centres, he informed.

Sunabeda is located on a plateau 3,000-foot above the sea level at a distance of 54 km from the Community Health Centre at Komna and 96 km from the district headquarters of Nuapada.

There is no communication facility to any of the village. Most people depend upon quacks for getting health treatment. The result of the negligence is quite evident on people, especially on the women and the children.

Nandibai Majhi is a nine months’ pregnant tribal woman of Salepada village, 7 km from Sunabeda. She is severely anemic. Her body has swelled and she is unable to breathe. She has not taken a single medicine since the beginning of her pregnancy.

The health card given to her by the ASHA is completely blank. She is lying on the ground of her varanda for last three days – as if waiting to die. “Due to poverty, I am unable to shift her to the Komna hospital,” said her husband.

Nandibai is not the only woman suffering from severe mal-nutrition and anemia. There are many others who have not got any medical help although they are in their advance stages of pregnancy. “My daughter,

Kamle Chinda is seven months’ pregnant, Jogne Barge and other seven pregnant women of Sunabeda and Godbhata villages have swollen bodies, pale white eyes, but have no treatment,” said Santara Majhi, ASHA of Sunabeda.

Wife of Khadu Majhi, another tribal woman of the village Dhekunpani was admitted to Komna CHC for delivery. She delivered a male child at night. She was relieved from the hospital on the following afternoon.

The Janani Surakshya van left her at Chere Chuan village which is 35 km from Dhekunpani. It was raining when she was left in the village school by the driver.

The rain did not stop, thus the family with the new born child passed the night on the varanda of the school. The following morning, even though the rain continued, they started walking for their village and reached there in the afternoon. The child died that night.

“I motivate 6 to 7 women of our village to take admission in the CHC for institutional delivery. But, they do not get proper treatment. For the financial supports of Rs 5000, they run 54 km to the bank for several times, which is painful,” said Santara.

One doctor, a pharmacist, one ANM and an attendant have been posted in the PHC of Sunabeda. But, no one of them lives here, leaving the hospital locked for months together.

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