Death continues to stalk tribal infants at Attappady. Two more tribal infants died on Saturday of alleged malnutrition, taking the toll to 38 since January this year.

The three-day-old child of Shantha and Subramaniyan of Chindakki primitive tribal hamlet in Pudur grama panchayat died on the way to the Coimbatore medical college. Shantha had delivered the child at the Mannarkad taluk hospital on October 28.

The mother and child were shifted to the Kottathara tribal specialty hospital at Attappady on October 31. With the condition of the child deteriorating, the Kottathara hospital authorities referred the infant to the Coimbatore medical college.

In the other incident, the eight-month-old child of Vijayan and Chiinna Swamy of Cheerakkandav Ooru in Pudur grama panchayat died at the Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre of the Public Health Centre, Pudur. The child weighted only four kg. The child was underweight even at the time of birth, relatives said.

The two deaths come after a gap of three months.

K.A. Ramu, convener of ‘Thampu,’ a voluntary organisation working among the tribal people, said though various special packages had been announced for Attappady by the Union and the State governments, the deaths of tribal infants at regular intervals showed that nothing much had changed on the ground.

Mr. Ramu said there was no dearth of health centres at Attappady. But they lacked specialised care. The 52-bed Kottathara hospital did not have specialist doctors and facilities to handle serious cases. The hospital generally referred patients to the medical colleges in Thrissur, Kozhikode, and Coimbatore. Referring patients who were in a critical condition to medical colleges as far as 50 km to 80 km away was a major cause of death, he said.

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