On a treacherous trail to reach the underserved

A. Mangamma hurries out of her home in Tadwai of Mulugu district around 5 a.m., slinging a heavy bag on her shoulders. For this Second ANM, the task at hand is to reach a habitation deep in the forest around sunrise and catch hold of the potential beneficiaries before they leave for work.

She tags along with an Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) and starts her journey. Taking a two-wheeler into the forest is not possible, thanks to the treacherous terrain.

The distance to be covered is 6 km or more, but they have no option other than to walk.

“At times, we have come across wild boars. We hide behind a tree and stand still to avoid catching its attention. We have learnt to navigate through the forests,” says Ms. Mangamma.

According to P. Rajeshwari, another ANM who works in Penugolu in the district, the most difficult time to travel through the forest or trek up a hillock is during the monsoons when the streams are in spate and paths slippery. She does not know how to swim, so a stick is her only friend while crossing swollen streams. “Now, a path is laid to some of the places. But it is uphill. Even if we take a bike, we have to get down at one point and drag the bike up,” she adds.

Sometimes, the ANMs have to walk along the lake bed or river banks to reach a habitation. In the course of their journey, they come across wild animals which come to the water body to quench thirst. In her 12-year experience, she says she has often encountered bears and wild boars.

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Printable version | May 17, 2022 12:54:23 pm |