Ever since the lockdown was declared, 37-year-old Sajitha is having sleepless nights. A resident of Kayyur in Kasaragod, her only hope to fight cancer is the medicines that she receive from Mumbai every month. However, the sudden lockdown has made life uncertain for many endosulfan victims like her who rely on medicines and treatment from across the border.
Moreover, the delay in receiving pension, which has been pending for the past five months, has added to their woes.
Ms. Sajitha is suffering from renal problems and was diagnosed with cancer in 2015. However, after the surgery, cancer spread to other parts of her body and she is surviving on the medicine which she receives from V Care, a non-governmental organisation in Mumbai. But with the lockdown, she has lost all hope of receiving the medicines.
“I am not sure about receiving the medicines despite bringing the issue to the attention of the district administration,” she said. The organisation sends the medicine every three weeks. The tablets cost over ₹1 lakh. It is not locally available and is too costly for her to afford, she said adding that the tablets have to be continued.
Pension only solace
Hailing from a very poor family, the pension money is the only solace for her. However, she said the pension had been pending for the past five months to endosulfan victims and they were going through a tough phase.
Meanwhile, the closing down of State borders has further increased the woes of the victims.
“We were regularly taking our son to a neurologist in Mangaluru. But with the road closed, how can we treat him in the absence of a good superspecialty hospital in Kasaragod,” asked Praveena, mother of 13-year-old endosulfan victim suffering from cerebral palsy.
Even the physician who usually visits home would not be able to come following the lockdown.
Another endosulfan victim, M.V. Raveendran, a resident of Ajanur grama panchayat, said they were unable to get medicines from the hospital. “I’m getting treatment at the Kannur Government Medical College at Pariyaram. However, they have stopped giving medicines citing non-availability,” he said.
Even these tablets are not readily available at Karunarya stores or Neethi stores. In such a situation, the lockdown had made life miserable for the victims, he said.