Dark clouds begin to move out of anaemic Attappadi - The New Indian Express

Dark clouds begin to move out of anaemic Attappadi

Published: 03rd October 2013 09:27 AM

Last Updated: 03rd October 2013 11:09 AM

Until very recently Attappadi was a land where death occasionally stalked tribal newborns. But now things have changed for the better.

Latest incidents have brought a glimmer of hope in the tribal stronghold, which was under the shadow of abysmally high mortality rates of undernourished mothers and infants. It is heartening to note that the region did not record any malnutrition deaths among infants since August, following proactive intervention by health officials.

Easwari of Chavadiyoor has a rosy picture to paint. She gave pre-mature birth to her fourth child at the Kottathara tribal specialty hospital.

“She was brought to the hospital as soon as she developed pain. The child weighed only 800 grams on birth. As only 29 weeks of pregnancy had passed, the baby was kept in the ‘warmer’ for 30 days. Now, the child weighs 1.3 kilograms and is being breast fed. We will discharge both the mother and child when the latter attains 1.5 kilograms or 2 kg,” said Chief Medical Officer of the hospital Dr K T Ibrahim.

Easwari’s is not an isolated case. Kaliamma, hailing from Thekkupara in Pallur, has been admitted to hospital for the past 25 days with her baby weighing only 800 grams. The infant has gradually gained weight and now weighs 1.2 kilos.

Unfortunately, abortions among adivasi mothers continue to be on the higher side, said deputy District Medical Officer and nodal officer (health)Prabhudas. “The junior public health nurses of the Health Department and the anganwadi workers have tracked around 280 tribal expectant mothers and children up to two-and-a-half years. The pregnant women were given milk and eggs on alternate days apart from the regular food supplements through the 172 anganwadis,” said Integrated Child Development Scheme employee Bindu. However, the infrastructure at the hospitals are below expectations. Barring two ‘warmers’, the Kottathara hospital does not have a ventilator for babies. Eight vacancies of doctors remain to be filled here of which five are meant for specialists.

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