Mal­nour­ished tribal tod­dler loses life as poor par­ents couldn’t man­age ` 40

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Kan­chan Sri­vas­tava kan­chan. sri­vas­tava@ dnain­dia. net

On the night of Septem­ber 10, when en­tire Ma­ha­rash­tra was cel­e­brat­ing Gan­pati fes­ti­val with much fan­fare, Namdev Savra, an un­skilled labourer in Pal­ghar dis­trict lost his se­verely mal­nour­ished two- year- old tod­dler, be­cause he didn’t have Rs40 for tak­ing him to the ru­ral hos­pi­tal.

“We wanted to take him to the hos­pi­tal in Jawhatr, which is 25- 26 km away from my vil­lage as I was asked to. But the pri­vate jeep charges Rs20 per head. All I needed was Rs40 but I didn’t have that much amount that day so we re­mained at home and saw our child dy­ing,” says a teary eyed Namdev Savra. He adds,” Ish­war was not keep­ing well since birth. He was un­der­weight and weak. We didn’t have enough to feed him which made him mal­nour­ished.”

The fam­ily of six ( now five) of­ten goes to bed empty stom­ach. It hap­pens very of­ten as Namdev’s vil­lage doesn’t have much work op­por­tu­nity for him. So, he mi­grates to Nashik for six­seven months to earn his daily bread. The fam­ily’s dingy home has bare min­i­mum items, in­clud­ing ra­tion. The il­lit­er­ate fam­ily didn’t ex­pect that the child would die so soon be­cause of ‘ weak­ness’ and cough ( he also con­tacted pneu­mo­nia due to low im­mu­nity)

Mean­while, a govern­ment of­fi­cial said, “The child weighed 8kg in De­cem­ber when his fam­ily mi­grated to Sur­gana ( Nashik) for search of liveli­hood. In June they came back to Khoch. By then the child’s weight was re­duced to 6kg. He was ad­mit­ted in the hos­pi­tal and was pro­vided treat­ment. The fam­ily wanted him to be dis­charged as they had more faith in God than doc­tors. Still our Health staff at­tended the child at home. They per­suaded the fam­ily to ad­mit the child again. They didn’t fol­low the ad­vice.”

An­other Vil­lager Goward­han Savara said, “The fam­ily couldn’t af­ford to go back to the hos­pi­tal be­cause of lack of money. Since most neigh­bours are hand to mouth, even they couldn’t lend money. We in­formed the ANM and ASHA about the bad health of the child but they did noth­ing.”

When asked why he couldn’t ar­range Rs40 for the fam­ily from Pan­chayat funds or the govern­ment’s free am­bu­lance to trans­port the ail­ing child to hos­pi­tal, Sarpanch Pan­durang Malak said,” I have got elected only two months ago hence I don’t know all the 487 fam­i­lies in my area per­son­ally.”

The fam­ily of Ish­war Savra, who died of mal­nu­tri­tion, at their res­i­dence in Khoch vil­lage of Mokhada in Pal­ghar

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