The poor state of maternal healthcare in the agency areas of north coastal Andhra Pradesh came to the fore yet again on Wednesday, as a pregnant tribal woman who was being carried in a makeshift stretcher to the nearest hospital, was forced to deliver her baby on the way.
The incident took place at S Kota mandal in the state's Vizianagaram district, and the condition of the woman and her baby is reportedly stable.
The woman was identified as K Chinnalamma, and doctors had set January 15 as the due date for delivery. However, the woman began experiencing labour pains on Wednesday morning, following which she was carried by locals in a makeshift stretcher, due to lack of roads in the region.
While family members called a 108 ambulance, there was no road connectivity to the village and the ambulance could only reach a certain point.
According to media reports, Chinnalamma was carried for 9 km before she delivered a baby. She had to then be carried for another two km before she reached the ambulance which was waiting for her with medical assistance.
She is presently undergoing treatment at the S Kota government hospital.
Such tragic incidents are a common occurrence in the agency areas of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam, where several tribals live deep in the forest, with no access to healthcare facilities.
While the state government relies on Asha workers and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) to reach out to the tribals, and insists that pregnant women get admitted in advance, many adivasis are reluctant as the hospitals themselves arenâ€™t equipped to handle all pregnancy cases.
In August last year, a pregnant tribal woman from Visakhapatnam district's Pedabayalu mandal died, after she was reportedly forced to walk around 20 km to consult a doctor, due to lack of a proper road.
The victim, identified as Lakshmi, died due to excessive bleeding, just days before she was due for delivery.