The death of the 10-day-old girl child of Sarawathy and Ayyappan of the Kurumba tribe at the Murugala tribal hamlet in Pudur grama panchayat on Saturday has taken the total number of infant deaths in Attappady to 40 since January.
Sarawathy was admitted to the Kottathara Government Tribal Specialty hospital on November 19 and she was delivered of a child the next day.
The child was underweight at 1,790 gm at birth. The mother was discharged but the child was kept at the hospital. The family left the hospital with the child on November 25.
The couple told health workers who visited the tribal colony on Sunday that they left the hospital as they were starving.
Only the mother was getting some food from the hospital. The three others (Ayyappan and two children of theirs) got no food though they were entitled to food worth Rs.200 per day, sources said.
The mother was an inpatient and was entitled to food worth Rs.150 every day, the health workers said. The couple had stated this in their written complaint to the Medical Officer, Agali. The mother was malnourished and this was her third delivery.
Ayyappan was unemployed and their agricultural produce had been destroyed by wild elephants, the workers said.
There was no Anganwadi in the hamlet. The government had announced that all tribal hamlets in Attappady would get Anganwadis where community kitchens would provide free food to expectant mothers, lactating mothers, infants, and senior citizens, sources said.