It has been quite sometime since Sadani Chatria (55) of Sonbahali village under Sunabeda gram panchayat has been depending on turmeric paste to get respite from acute gastritis. Though it has not been of much help, he has no other option as healthcare facility in the area is almost non-existent.
Soseng and Sunabeda gram panchayats located deep inside the Sunabeda sanctuary are inhabited by 12,000 tribals including primitive tribe of Chakutia Bhunjia. All they have in the name of health facility is an additional PHC (APHC). But it is of little use.
With no doctor or pharmacist appointed in the APHC, the facility is run by two attendants - Lalu Majhi and Chandar Majhi. An ANM turns up at the health centre every Wednesday to take up immunisation work. The area continues to be neglected by the authorities despite the fact that it is malaria prone and malnutrition is a common phenomenon.
Though a doctor and a pharmacist were reportedly posted at the APHC, the villagers alleged that they have not yet seen them.
There was an ambulance and a driver at the APHC to shift patients to Nuapada Hospital, located 70 km away, during emergency. But, with Maoists misusing the ambulance, it is now stationed at Komna community health centre (CHC).
Chief District Medical Officer Manorama Mohapatra, who assumed office recently, said she was unaware of the problem, but assured to visit the APHC and take corrective measures.
Under the circumstances, traditional healing practices continue to be the only respite for the villagers of both the gram panchayats.