Kerala’s tribal hamlet Attappadi reports one more infant’s death

Son of Narayanaswamy and Sudha, residents of Varagampadi hamlet in Sholayur was born premature and weighed only 870 grams.


Published Mar 13, 2023 | 3:39 PM Updated Mar 13, 2023 | 3:39 PM

Attappadi infant death

An infant, just four days old, has died at the Thrissur Medical College Hospital, official sources said in Palakkad on Monday, 13 March.

Son of Narayanaswamy and Sudha, residents of Varagampadi hamlet in Sholayur was born premature and weighed only 870 grams.

Sudha, who suffers from Sickle Cell Anaemia was first admitted to a private hospital in Agali and was then shifted to Thrissur Medical College.

Also read: Inordinate delay shows how justice is elusive for Attappady tribals

Cesarean section done

The baby was then taken out through Cesarean section in the eighth month of pregnancy.

The newborn was undergoing treatment at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit but died without responding to it.

Official sources said this is the second infant death in the calendar year and the eleventh in the current financial year.

When contacted, Palakkad District Medical Officer, Reetha KP said steps are being taken to avoid complications in tribal women during their pregnancy period.

“We have a weekly review of the pregnant women in the tribal hamlets and all steps are taken to avoid complications during pregnancy. All departments are now working in good coordination to prevent infant deaths in Attappadi,” she told PTI.

Customs, a barrier?

However, sometimes, the tribals refuse to come out due to some of their customs, and communicating with them in their language has been a challenge, Health department sources said, adding now efforts are on to find tribal community members to convey the message of the department in their own language for awareness creation.

Sources said on many occasions babies born weighing 700 grams were saved.

But sometimes with health complications like Sickle Cell Anemia-positive mothers, saving premature babies could be really difficult, they said.

Last year, Health Minister Veena George visited Attappadi, when three infant deaths were reported and announced that a special intervention package will be readied for the tribal belt.

The Minister had said community volunteers and Asha workers will be used to regularly monitor the health of pregnant women including the high-risk groups.

The government opened a maternity hospital called ‘Amma Veedu’, for tribal women at Kottathara a couple of days back.

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