Tribals protest govt’s apathy towards high infant mortality in Kandhamal

Phulbani: Concerned about large number of infant deaths in tribal-dominated Kandhamal district, activists today gheraoed the office of chief district medical officer (CDMO) seeking immediate intervention of the state government.

Activists under the banner of Kui Samaj Samanya Samiti (KSSS) and Kandhamal Vikas Parishad (KVP) gheroaed the office CDMO in-charge of Kandhamal district Dr Jatin Patnaik.

“We strongly condemn the government’s apathy towards large-scale death of infants in Kandhamal district,” KSSS Secretary Lambodar Kanhar and KVP Secretary Ashok Parida said in a joint statement.

“As many as 242 infant death cases were registered in the district in the last four months (March to June 27) and seven cases alone in Special Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) at District Headquarters Hospital, Phulbani, which is unfortunate and shocking,” said KVP leader Ashok Parida.

“Eight newborns died in the last fortnight. Three of them died in SNCU, DHH, Phulbani,” Parida said.

The activists said 25 babies died in SNCU in March, 24 in April, 27 in May and 9 in June as per official record.

They said only one paediatric specialist against 13 sanctioned was posted in Kandhamal district.

When contacted, CDMO in-charge Patnaik said, “We have taken care to the best of our ability to check the infant mortality which is proved to be the highest in the region (86 per 1000). We regularly bring it to the notice of government, but satisfactory result is yet to be achieved.”

About 75 per cent of neonatal deaths in Kandhamal occur during first week of birth and 25-45 per cent within first 24 hours in Kandhamal, Bulu Nath Sahu, District Project Manager (DPM), National Health Mission (NHM) said.

minister was seen riding the cart temporarily unseating the president of Daitapati Nijog Ramkrushna Das Mohapatra who drives the cart, as per rituals

The firebrand legislator reached the spot with his supporters while the holy cart was passing through the town famous for appliqué handicrafts.

Maharaty draped in yellow dhoti, white vest and a saffron headgear climbed onto the cart and drove it till some distance. Devotees, besides his followers, gathered in large number to have darshan of Lord Jagannath’s Daru.