The survey official said that large bundles of the oral contraceptive pills were found in several homes, bought from towns like Kothamangalam

Indiscriminate use of oral contraceptives persists among women in tribal colonies of Ernakulam district, adding to an already complex health scene for the Adivasi population.

Social workers engaged by Kudumbasree poverty eradication mission in a two-day survey of the tribes people in Kothamangalam block late November found that women in these mostly remote villages began to take the pills at an early age and continued to use them late into life.

A senior member of the survey team told The Hindu on Monday that Adivasi women used the hormonal oral contraceptive pill to delay menstruation because they wanted to avoid going to the traditional ‘Valaaymapura’ where women are compulsorily put up during their menstruation.

These women are not allowed into their homes but are keen to avoid going to the customary homes, which are now in disrepair. A surveyor says that the women are frightened of both of men and wild animals at these homes, which are one-room huts without lighting or basic amenities. The surveyor was part of the team that visited Adivasi homes at the remote Pinavoorkudi village.

The survey official said that large bundles of the oral contraceptive pills were found in several homes, bought from towns like Kothamangalam, confirming earlier reports of indiscriminate use of the pills.

Prolonged usage of contraceptive pills without doctor’s advice gives rise to cardiac problems, liver dysfunction and even cancer. The pill was a combination of the oestrogen and progesterone hormones and its usage needs to be reviewed every three months, said gynaecologist Girija Gurudas.

She said that pills were not given to those who complained of migraine or showed signs of cardiac problems or were detected with any cancer.

Meanwhile, the survey was conducted to finalise the Special Ashraya Scheme being implemented through Kudumbasree mission.

The Adivasi villages surveyed are located 25 to 28 km from Kuttampuzha, the nearest town known to the outside world. Seventeen colonies, housing around 6,000 people in 1,266 homes, were surveyed by the team comprising officials from the Kudumbasree mission and volunteers from Rajagiri Outreach Programme.

Alcohol abuse among the male population and rampant use of tobacco among women are other problems that confront the Adivasi community.

A pregnant woman in Uriyanpetti village, two-hour walk from the point where a jeep brought the surveyors, was saved from certain death after the volunteers rushed her to a Kothamangalam hospital when she was found in a serious condition complaining of severe stomach ache and uneasiness. The doctors found that the foetus was dead for three days when she was rushed to the hospital.

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