Thursday, April 12, 2007

Maoist scare drives doctors away

Statesman News Service

DHENKANAL, April 12: Afraid of Maoists, health officials and health workers have deserted the headquarters in Kankadahada block. In their absence, patients afflicted with malaria and victims of dehydration are lying unattended.

According to officials of Maurabili gram panchayat, more than forty people have already been afflicted with malaria. Patients have to return disappointed from nearby health sub-centres, hospitals and PHCs. No health worker, anganwadi worker or doctor come to the health centres. ANM or multi-purpose health workers ~ both male and female ~ are engaged to provide emergency care and first aid, especially to pregnant women. But they can rarely be seen .

Maurabili gram panchayat sarpanch Mr Pratap Marandi said malaria and the scarcity of drinking water had been scourges for the tribal folk. He visited nearby hospitals and sub-centres for three days but found none to allay the plight of malaria victims. When he first visited Birasal health centre, a doctor told him no health worker was ready to enter the village apprehending Maoists attacks. More than fifty people, of whom forty are malaria victims, urged him to arrange for healthcare but to no avail. Drinking water sources being limited, people have using polluted water, leading to serious health hazards. The water spurting out of tube-wells is heavily laced with iron. Despite repeated requests, senior administrative officials are yet to reach the spot to take stock of the situation.

DRDA project director Mr Khagendranath Jena said he had visited Kankadahad block and discussed health facilities with the people there. The locals alleged before project director that doctors , health officials and health services contributors rarely move in their areas on duty. He finds grain of truth in people’s allegations when he visited nearby hospitals.

The worst sufferers are expectant mothers who need health care from time to time in phases

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