Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Malkangiri, Oct 29:
Odisha Government loves to blow its own trumpet on its achievements in healthcare. The ground reality, however, is strikingly different as evident from the case of Bhime Padiami of Malkangiri who delivered a baby boy besides a canal yesterday.
The latest in the series of innumerable cases of child birth without medical help in the state, the incident comes from Kurubu village under Badigeta Grampanchayat in Maoist infested Kalimela block of backward Malkangiri district.
Without access to an all weather road, motor vehicle connectivity remains a distant dream that forces expecting mothers (for that matter every other patient or living being in the village) to walk about four kilometres to the nearest place with access to motorized vehicles. No wonder, medical services and healthcare facilities elude these men and women.
The expected disaster struck the family of Irma Padiami and his wife Bhime yesterday. Even though Irma attempted to take his wife to Kalimela Hospital on his bicycle and by foot, all he could cover is the four kilometres of torture till Badigeta.
Expecting and under severe pain, she could no more be taken to the Kalimela Hospital. Fortunately for the family, the generous ASHA worker at Badigeta was present and got the baby delivered besides a canal under a tree.
Forget the 108 or 102 ambulance taking the would-be mother to the hospital, even after frantic calls to both the service operators by the ASHA worker; the 102 ambulance reached the spot only after three long hours. The mother and the baby lay there out in the open for all of that time.
“She was in pain and used to sit down after every few hundred metres of walk. We covered the four kilometres with a great deal of difficulty and then after reaching the canal road, she couldn’t walk any longer. She needed help, but the ambulance didn’t come. Then we took the risk and got the baby delivered besides the road itself,” said Irma, who still is visibly shocked over the incident.
“The ambulance service operators didn’t even attend the call initially. I had to try many times just to speak to them. Even when they did attend the call, they kept us waiting for the vehicle to arrive. I took the risk and got the baby delivered here (the roadside) itself, as the woman was not in a condition to move anywhere anymore,” said Basanti Padiami, the ASHA worker.
While Uday Narayn Mishra, the CDMO of Malkangiri feigned ignorance on the incident, Odisha Health Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak preferred not to comment.
Tall claims of the State Government and the real self of welfare schemes stood exposed at a recent workshop in Bhubaneswar that provided facts on the alarmingly high Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in the state.
Notably, earlier this year, we had reported a similar incidence of delayed arrival of 108 ambulance wherein the mother died after delivering the baby.
Unfortunately, irrespective of how disturbing it sounds, these kinds of incidents are nothing new for residents of Odisha. Here the ambulances are probably better used for transporting money during elections while pregnant women continue to give birth at homes, roadsides and elsewhere.