Odisha doctor’s team carries pregnant woman on stretcher for 30 km to hospital


A young doctor who had gone to a remote village in Maoist-affected Malkangiri district on Pulse Polio programme turned out to be guardian angel for a pregnant woman as he and his team of health workers carried her on a stretcher for 30 km to a government hospital.

On Sunday, Radheshyam Jena, a doctor working in Kalimela community health centre of Malkangiri had set off for Kodidulagundi village under Kurmanur grampanchayat with his team on Pulse Polio immunisation programme when he came to know of a woman going through a painful labour.

At her home, Rinama Bare was experiencing labour pains, but she could not be rushed to the nearest health centre as there is no motroable road to her village.

“When I reached her home, I found that the woman was bleeding and the surrounding was very unhygienic. I managed to get the woman safely deliver her a baby boy, but she was bleeding. She also had another child in the uterus. As there was no mobile signal available, I went to hilltop to speak to my superiors about it. The CDMO said we have to save the woman’s live at any cost and admit her in hospital . So two members of the woman’s family and six persons in our team including me put her on a stretcher to admit her in community health centre of Kalimela,” said Dr Jena.

The team set off for Kalimela community health centre at 12, but managed to reach it only at 8 pm navigating the rocky terrain and rivulets. When they reached Kalimela Community Health Centre, the woman delivered a stillborn. The health of the woman was reported stable.

This is the one more instance of pregnant women being carried on cots or stretchers due to lack of motroable roads to villages. On Sunday too, a pregnant woman of Malkangiri gave birth to her child in the open while being carried to the hospital on a cot. Kashmi Golari of Gopaguda village under Khairput block went into labour on Sunday, but the ambulance that the family had sought could not reach the village due to bad road condition. Golari delivered a baby girl mid-way while she was being carried on a cot to the ambulance waiting 4 km away.

The same day a woman in Bijepur block of Bargarh too was carried on a cot for about 500 metre to an ambulance waiting near their village as there was no motorable road. The family members of Rebati Patel in Kanadihi village had booked an ambulance, but it could not reach her doorstep due to lack of road. The family members had to carry the expecting woman through uneven road on a cot for about 500 metre to the waiting ambulance.

With 3, 323 villages in the State lacking road connectivity, instances of pregnant women being carried on cots or slings have become too common. “The government is announcing addition of more beds in hospitals and recruitment of doctors. But there is no road infrastructure to hospitals in districts like Koraput, Kalahandi, Kandhamal and Malkangiri. Why can’t the government construct roads to such villages in a time-bound manner?” asked activist Pradip Pradhan.



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