Dilip Kumar

Jajpur: Even as the devastating second wave of Covid-19 pandemic has set the alarm bells ringing across the country, the tribal residents at Nagada in Jajpur district are little worried about the deadly virus and its impact because, as they claim,  "Of God's blessings and their own home-made herbal cure." 

Nagada, which had once hogged the national and international headlines for series of child malnutrition deaths, is in news once again as the tall claims of government’s massive Covid awareness programme seem to have little ground impact here in this tribal hinterland in the forested hill region of the mineral rich Jajpur district.

OTV found that the people are least bothered about the pandemic that has shaken the entire nation. 

Even some of them didn’t know what is Corona virus and the pandemic all about.

 Some say the disease can’t touch them as God is with them.

“There is no Corona here. Corona has not touched us ever. We are safe by the blessings of God. We even don’t use masks,” said a local.
“We use our own desi herbal medicine (Tunga-Bainga). Corona can’t enter our areas. Moreover, God and his blessings are with us,” Rabi Padhan, a local, said. 

Instructions of 'Covid appropriate behaviour' is just a few lines scribbled on the ‘health wall’ for them in the hamlets. 

Awareness programme on which Government is spending lakhs, is still to reach them.

They alleged that the health workers have wound up their duties without even  entering the village.

“They (health workers) are not educating us regarding proper Covid behaviour, use of masks and its benefits among others. They just come and go away from the road on the outskirts of the village. They should make people aware properly,” Desa Padhan, a local ward member said.

The Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO), however, assured to streamline the government’s awareness programmes in the tribal area.

“I am new to the district. I recently joined as the district head from Capital Hospital. I didn’t know the kind of awareness programme being carried out by the health workers earlier. I will definitely enquired into the matter and discuss with the Sukinda Medical officer,” CDMO said.

Notably, there had been widespread political outcry over Nagada following rampant cases of infant deaths due to malnutrition. The State government had promised all round development for the tribals after the region had drawn global  attention.