Poor road connectivity in Visakhapatnam Agency takes toll on tribals health

Residents left to fend for themselves in helth emergency, which even results in deaths
Poor road connectivity in Visakhapatnam Agency takes toll on tribals health

VISAKHAPATNAM: Three tribals drowned at Hukumpeta mandal of Visakhapatnam agency when they were crossing a stream on Thursday. On their way home, they trekked a rough terrain for lack of motorable roads and met watery grave while crossing the stream.

Many tribals suffer lack of roads and the situation will turn tragic in case of any seriously sick people. Out of 3,636 habitats in Vizag agency, as many as 1,087 do not have proper road connectivity. Pregnant women in tribal villages are said to be the  victims.

Interior villages of Chintapalle, Araku, Munchingput, Paderu, Hukumpeta and Dumbriguda mandals lack roads, making lives of tribals very tough. For each and every thing, including household goods, tribals have to trek mountains. The condition of people in Chintapalle, Koyyuru, GK Veedhi, Dumbriguda and Hukumpeta is worse, as they have to cross streams. According to the tribals, not only ambulance, even other vehicles cannot ply on such terrains.

“The tribals are habituated to trek to reach plain areas. But when it rains, the streams will be in spate, making them easy prey. While returning home, if the sun sets, tribals stay put for the night en route,” said a tribal, D Upendra, from Paderu region.Meanwhile, people cannot reach hospital in case of any emergency. Sources said that due to lack of roads, ambulance services stop at some point and patients are brought to the ambulance, not on stretchers, but on beds made of bamboo sticks. The situation turns worse as the villages are cut off for days together during heavy rains. 

“Patients waiting for medical aid is common in the agency. In July, a pregnant woman from Kumada of Munchinput mandal died. She got labour pains and the family members were not able to take her to plain areas as the road leading to highway washed away in heavy rains,” said Kollu Surendra, a member of AP Girijana Sangham (APGS), Araku mandal of the agency.  Sources, quoting the norms, said that there should be one PHC for every 30,000 residents. But the agency has only 36 PHCs covering 7 lakh population in 11 mandals. But the poor road connectivity prevents the  tribals from availing of treatment.

Hukumpeta mandal registers most of the anthrax cases, while Paderu, Chintapalli and Dumbriguda register most of the malaria and diarrhoea cases. A few weeks ago, CPM conducted a survey and claimed that 130 people had died in Agency this season of malaria. However, the district medical officials denied it.

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The New Indian Express