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