In yet another case that highlights the poor state of maternal healthcare in Visakhapatnam's tribal region, a pregnant adivasi woman from the 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 incident, said to have happened last week, came to light on Sunday. The victim, identified as Lakshmi, died due to excessive bleeding, just days before she was due for delivery.
According to media reports, 28-year-old Lakhmi had walked from her native hamlet of Jamadangi, which is in an interior area, to Boyithi in Madugula Mandal, to consult a Rural Medical Practitioner (RMP). After the visit, she began her way back.
However, on the way back, she is reported to have developed labour pains, and though her relatives carried her for some distance in a makeshift stretcher, she and her unborn child died due to excess bleeding.
Officials have taken note of the incident and submitted a report to higher authorities.
Such tragic incidents are a common occurrence in Visakhapatnam's agency area as the nearest motorable road is several kilometres away from interior hamlets, which force relatives of women to carry them on makeshift stretchers.
Earlier this year, data provided to TNM by the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) office at Paderu town in the tribal region, showed that the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) under its jurisdiction for 2018 up to January 2019 was 204. This was shocking when compared to Andhra Pradeshâ€™s rate between 2014 to 16, which stands at 74 or Indiaâ€™s rate which stands at 130.
While the state government relies on Asha workers and Auxillary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) and insists that pregnant women get admitted in advance, the hospitals themselves arenâ€™t equipped to handle all pregnancy cases.