A newborn boy died of suspected malnutrition at the Kottathara Government Tribal Specialty Hospital on Sunday. The child was born to Lakshmi and Sumesh of Karara tribal hamlet (ooru) in Agali grama panchayat. Thirty-nine tribal children have died of suspected malnutrition since January.
Ms. Lakshmi, who was admitted to the hospital on Saturday, was delivered of the child on Sunday. The infant weighed 800 gm. She had been under treatment at the Kottathara hospital earlier.
The last tribal infant death reported in Attappady was on November 1 when the child of Shantha and Subramaniyan of Chindakki primitive tribal hamlet in Pudur grama panchayat died on the way to the Coimbatore Medical College.
The death of infants in a short period drew national attention, calling for qualitative improvement in the socio-economic and health status of tribespeople at Attappady.
Though various special packages had been announced by both the Union and State governments to improve the living conditions of tribespeople, death of infants at regular intervals (since then) showed that nothing much had changed on the ground, said K.A. Ramu, convener of ‘Thampu’, a voluntary organisation working among tribal people.
He said the scheme to provide nutritious food through anganwadis to children, pregnant, and lactating mothers was not functioning properly. The ‘Mathrusuraksha scheme’ to provide monthly financial assistance to the mothers was also not implemented properly in Attappady, Mr. Ramu said.