Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Malkangiri, Nov 8:
Even though our country has taken great strides in science and technology, successfully ventured into the interplanetary space with the Mars Orbiter Mission or ‘Mangalayaan’ and now the hullaballoo about Smart Cities, people in remote areas like Odisha’s Malkangiri district still do not have access to doctors and live in the Dark Ages depending on disaris (voodoo doctors) for treating their children.
A 19-day old newborn is battling for life at the district headquarters hospital at Malkangiri after being branded with red hot bangles by its parents on the advice of a disari.
The mother of the newborn who is illiterate claimed that in the absence of doctors and poor connectivity to their village Gumajharana, she had taken their twelve day-old baby to a disari as its belly had swelled.
The disari advised her to brand the baby’s belly with broken glass bangles dipped in red hot fire as a treatment for the distension which she did, claimed the mother of the newborn.
After the condition of the newborn worsened, some good samaritan educated people advised the parents of the newborn to take the baby to the government hospital at Mathili. As the condition of the baby was critical they were asked to shift to the district headquarters hospital at Malkangiri.
“The baby’s belly had swelled. There are no doctors near our village. We had taken it to a disari, who advised us to brand the baby’s swollen belly with glass bangles after heating those red hot in fire as a treatment for the ailment. We did so. Instead of the baby getting cured burn wounds on her aggravated. After being advised by some people we took our baby to the government hospital at Mathili. They asked us to go to Malkangiri. Now we have admitted our baby here, she is under treatment,” said the mother of the newborn.
“The disari told us to brand the belly of the child with pieces of hot glass bangles to cure the ailment. We did that,” said the grandfather of the newborn.
The newborn is currently admitted to the Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) at the district headquarters hospital in Malkangiri. The attending pediatrician at the hospital said the baby was recovering and its condition was stable.
“The newborn is 19 days. They are from Gumajhara. Eight days back the baby’s belly had swollen. According to them they could take the child to a hospital due to lack of communication. They had called a witch doctor who advised them to brand the baby’s belly with broken bangles after heating them in fire. The baby has burn injuries which were infected. Superstition is deep rooted among them. After the burns got infected on someone asked them to go to the hospital at Mathili. There they were advised to shift to our hospital. Now the condition of the newborn is stable. The baby is admitted to the Sick Newborn Care Unit here,” said Dr Govind Biswas, attending pediatrician at the district headquarters hospital.