Healthcare in doldrums: Unending tales of pregnant women carried in slings

Kalyansinghpur: Adding to the unending tales of woe expectant mothers in rural Odisha face, one more case reported from Kalyansinghpur block in Rayagada district has once again questioned the healthcare initiatives that the state government launches with so much hullabaloo.

Report of an expectant mother at Tebapada village of the block ferried across a river in a sling by family members for 10 kilometers after failing to avail ambulance services on Friday has disturbed one and all.

After the woman complained labour pain for long, family members of the woman tried calling up ambulance services frantically but to no avail.

According to sources, the ambulance could not reach the village due to absence of  motorable roads. Forced, the family members carried her to the hospital in a sling attached to a bamboo pole on their shoulders wading through the river and walking some distance.

One of her acquaintances Jambu Prepaka alleged, “The ambulance people denied to come to the village after we called them up. We had to carry her on shoulders. Even the motorcycle ambulance did not turn up.”

“This is not an incident in isolation. Such cases here are dime a dozen. All sick and pregnant women are being carried to the hospital in a sling. Neither 108 services respond, nor promise help. This is a perpetual problem,” alleged Pramod Sikka, a Niyamgiri villager.

The district administration had recently launched bike ambulance service to help expectant mothers to be taken to hospitals in inaccessible villages. However, the bike ambulance is seen permanently stationed outside the Community Health Centre of Kalyansinghpur and not been put to use even once.

Aswini Chauhan, a local said, “The bike ambulance launched a month ago, has not been used even once. Dongiria adivasis in Niyamgiri are facing a lot of difficulty.”

Meanwhile, Rayagada Sub-Collector Prabir Kumar Nayak assured of immediate use of bike ambulance for the people in the area without any further delay. “The Collector had launched the bike ambulance service to help patients. Immediate steps will be taken and we will direct the health centre to appoint a driver and make other arrangements for the patients and expectant mothers.”