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978 pregnant women marooned in flood hit district

Kendrapara: Rinarani Ojha has named her daughter `Vanya` (flood) after the child was born safely on the rooftop of a building surrounded by floodwaters in Kendrapara district where 978 marooned women are in advanced stage of pregnancy.

"As many as 978 women are in advanced stage of pregnancy in flooded villages of Aul, Pattmundai, Rajkanika and Rajnagar blocks," said Jagadish Prasad Sahu, District Project Manager, National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

NRHM is a central scheme that provides health care services to rural households with the main objective to decrease infant mortality and maternal mortality rates.

Rinarani Ojha of Jadupur village and Savita Sahu from Nalapari village were lucky to have safely delivered a female and a male child respectively, although on rooftops shared by many including men.

"We were on rooftop. Suddenly she complained of labour pain. We could do nothing but pray. She safely delivered a girl. The newborn is named `Vanya`", said Rinarani`s husband Surendra Ojha.

"As Savita developed labour pain, stranded people used cell phones to call police station and the primary health centre, but no help came. By God`s grace she had a safe delivery," said Suryakanta Lenka, a local settler.

However, not all pregnant women might not be as lucky as the two as about 50 villages located along the flooded Brahmani river system were still lying out of bounds.

"Detailed health profile of pregnant women in flooded villages are awaited. With most villages having services of NRHM`s ASHA workers, we hope all of them are safe. They are trained to handle situations like this," said Prasad.

ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers are local women trained by NRHM to work as an interface between the community and the public health system.

Panchayat members were told to immediately intimate the NRHM in case of emergency so that medical attention could be paid to them but the medical teams were facing the problem of shortage of boats, the NRHM district project manager said.

Kendrapara ex-MLA Utkal Keshari Parida alleged that the officials supervising flood relief operation have forgotten to pay attention to these vulnerable sections.

"I have personally requested the district officials several times in this regard. But it had been of little effect," Parida said.

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