The Pioneer, 9th May, 2008
The number of deaths of pregnant women in tribal districts of the State has sent a shock wave among various quarters. As many as 800 women died in Koraput, Kalahandi and Balangir districts in the last 30 months beginning from 2005. According to a survey conducted by the White Ribbon Alliance (WRA), 57 per cent of these 800 deceased, died within a week of delivery.
However, the State Government's report tells a different story while the actuality is startling with the Government's progressive policies in healthcare, especially in case of pregnant mothers, being sabotaged by officials. The disturbing figures came to light following the launch of 'Delivery Now,' a global advocacy drive for 12 districts. Health officials here said that 40 mothers died due to insecure pregnancy, 64 during delivery and 696 after delivering babies.
"The main reason behind such a high number of deaths is that we have failed to get the best out of service provided by the Ancillary Nursing Midwifes (ANMs) in rural setup, as 60 per cent of ANMs have not been able to provide the healthcare needed for mothers," WRA officials said. The Janani Surakshya Yojana is a noble one, but its poor execution is now a cause of concern. It is mandatory that after getting the labour pain, the mothers have to be admitted in a hospital. She would be paid about Rs 1,500 so that she can take care of herself and her kid.
All these welfare schemes are executed by Government officials and, instead of implementing the schemes, most of them sell the commodities in the name of pregnant women at the lifting point. In the major tribals-dominated areas, the implementing agency manipulates the records and hides the pregnant mothers' deaths. In most of the cases, home delivery in remote tribal villages became common due to lack of Government programmes, lack of communication facilities and deep-rooted corruption while implementing the schemes.
In the urban areas, many mothers, who have institutional deliveries, would get Rs 1,000 after delivery, but there is not enough space available in hospitals where they can be kept under observation for a few more days after the delivery.