Coimbatore

Braving odds to provide healthcare

A medical team crossing River Moyar to reach a tribal hamlet in Sathyamangalam Taluk in Erode district recently.

A medical team crossing River Moyar to reach a tribal hamlet in Sathyamangalam Taluk in Erode district recently.   | Photo Credit: Handout_e_mail_

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When a nine-year-old boy of Malliamman Durgham, a remote settlement in Kadambur hills, died of diphtheria on June 12, a medical team rushed to the hamlet located about 9 km away from the motorable road and conducted a screening camp.

Only a pick up van was available to reach the village that took two-and-a-half hours to cover the 9 km stretch, said Dr. Ganesh, Block Development Officer at Ukkaram in Sathyamangalam Block.

He said Kathirimalai tribal village in Anthiyur block could be reached only after walking for five hours and during polio immunisation campaigns, a medical team went to the village a day before the camp.

Boodhikuppam, a tribal hamlet with 25 families, can be reached after crossing River Moyar near Thengumarahada.

Recently, a medical team led by Dr. Savitha from the Primary Health Centre at Rajan Nagar, crossed the river on foot to reach there. However, while returning, due to flash floods, the water level increased in the river and they waited for hours for the water to recede.

Narrating her experience, the doctor said that as coracle service was not available, they crossed the river on foot.

Rendering service in tribal hamlets located in remote hilly areas has always been a challenge for the medical teams.

They need to climb terrains, cross rivers on foot and face threat from animals.

In many areas, there won’t be mobile connectivity. They even face non-availability of food .

At many hamlets, the medical teams face resistance from the local people, particularly to vaccinate children, due to false beliefs. Police had to intervene at a hamlet in Talavadi hills after a few families threatened a medical team against vaccinating their children.

There are over 125 hamlets located in the hills of Talavadi, Kadambur and Bargur where reaching people continue to be a challenge for the medical teams.

Deputy Director of Health Services S. Soundammal told The Hindu that despite facing uphill task on many occasions, they medical teams overcome it successfully.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 9:42:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/braving-odds-to-provide-healthcare/article28763382.ece

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