No health centre nearby, Chenchus fall prey to snakebites in Nallamala
Hence the centre along with the ambulance was then shifted to Vatwarlapally, which is located in the buffer-zone on Srisailam highway.
NAGARKURNOOL: In a heart-wrenching incident, a toddler died of snakebite while sleeping inside her hut in the core area of the Nallamala forest on July 23. Had there been a primary health centre anywhere close, she would have survived.
Balmuri Eashwari, 3, a resident of Eagalapenta hamlet of Appapur gram panchayat in Lingal mandal was bitten by a Russels Viper. She has been a snake-bite victim twice. As the nearest primary centre is in Mannanur which is located 30 km away in the buffer-zone of the forest, she passed away while she was being taken to the PHC.
The Chenchus dying of snakebites is not a common occurrence in the Nallamala forest, as they use medicinal plants for their treatment. But unfortunately, as Eashwari was bitten by the snake in the night, it was difficult for the residents to collect medicinal herbs for her treatment.
In the early 2000s, there was a PHC in Appapur, close to Aagarlapenta. But during the anti-naxal insurgency operations,it was found that the insurgents were being treated in that PHC. Hence the centre along with the ambulance was then shifted to Vatwarlapally, which is located in the buffer-zone on Srisailam highway.
After the Chenchus living in the core forest area agitated demanding a primary health sub-centre, `20 lakh was sanctioned to build a PHC. But the Chenchus continue to be still devoid of accessible healthcare in the forest.
There were two Royal Enfield bike ambulances recently given to Appapur by the Red Cross Society of Nagarkurnool, but as the locals were asked to fill the fuel by themselves, the vehicles remained unused and the Red Cross took them back.
The Chenchus who are in a state of shock for their daughter’s death are urging the district administration to establish a PHC in Appapur or any of the hamlets under its jurisdiction to prevent loss of lives.