Tribal woman carried on a sling for 8 kms stretch, but dies on way to hospital in Vizianagaram

Vizianagaram: The death of 28-year-old woman B Lakshmi, who gave birth to an infant around ten days back, once again exposed poor road connectivity and medical and health facilities in the tribal hamlets in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh.

Lakshmi, suffering from the fever, being carried on a makeshift stretcher (Doli in local parlance) through an 8 kms stretch hilly forest trek under Salur Mandal in Vizianagaram district to reach the nearby hospital, lost her final breath in Doli on Friday.

The incident has drawn wide public criticism. It was not the first time in Vizianagaram that tribal women being carried on the makeshift stretcher to reach hospitals.

The tribal woman Lakshmi, a native of Mamayyapadu tribal hamlet under Salur Mandal in Vizianagaram district given birth to a baby girl recently. Lakshmi has been suffering from fever for the past few days.

As Mamayyapadu was located in between two hills and there was no road connectivity to the village, Lakshmi’s husband B Simhachalam and few others made a makeshift stretcher. They took her to nearby Saluru to reach the hospital. However, Lakshmi died on the way to the hospital on Friday.

The relatives of the deceased woman have taken the dead body to their hamlet again in the Doli as vehicles (two-wheelers, auto-rickshaws, and ambulances) unable to reach the village.

CPM leader Ch Narasinga Rao said that the incident had exposed the lack of health facilities in the remote areas under ITDA Parvathipuram in the Vizianagaram district exposing chinks in the government health schemes.

Though Vizianagaram district administration claimed 450 roads would be laid in tribal pockets in Vizianagaram to improve connectivity to remote tribal areas, the proposal yet to take off. There was no road connectivity to over 100 hamlets in Vizag district in case of emergency, Rao added.

The lack of road network to tribal pockets put many families to a lot of hardship in North Andhra Pradesh of Vizag, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam district.

Deputy Chief Minister and Tribal Welfare Minister P Pushpa Srivani said she has directed that officials conduct an inquiry into the incident. We are also chalking out the road map to connect the tribal hamlets by laying roads, she added.

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