Aranmula MLA Veena George formed WhatsApp groups named Ammayum Kunjum in which a team of gynaecologists, psychiatrists, counsellors and paediatricians are included.

Veena George MLA helping pregnant womenPhoto : Facebook,Veena George
news Lockdown Tuesday, May 12, 2020 - 19:26

Rincy, a native of Iritty in Kannur, had come with her husband to Pathanamthitta for his work. She was in the last month of pregnancy when the lockdown was announced. All she wanted was to go back to her mother for delivery as she was scared. She contacted Aranmula MLA Veena George pleading for permission to go back home.

That was when Kannur had been declared a red zone so there was no possibility of inter-district travel. But the MLA and her team created a second home for Rincy in Pathanamthitta for delivery.

“We appointed a person to be with her throughout her hospital stay. I instructed doctors and nurses to give her special attention as she was asking for her mother’s presence. We also arranged for all the Ayurvedic treatments usually given after delivery. It was like a person in our family having a baby,” Veena recalls.

Rincy is among the hundreds of pregnant women who were worried and tensed during the lockdown. MLA Veena formed WhatsApp groups named Ammayum Kunjum (Mother and Child) to support pregnant women during the lockdown. There are four such groups where almost 1,000 women have registered.

“Many of the pregnant women were under tremendous stress during the lockdown. They were worried about going to hospitals, nervous whether they would catch the infection or whether their baby would be infected. That is when we thought of forming these groups. We collected contacts from panchayats and interested people were added in these groups,” Veena says.

In each group, a team of gynaecologists, psychiatrists, counsellors and paediatricians are also included. The women can ask their doubts in the groups and the doctors answer them. “For women who are undergoing stress, experts counsel them personally. We make sure that doctors are easily available for the pregnant women whenever they have doubts,” she adds.

The women also faced difficulties to go for check-ups as vehicles were not allowed, so whoever sought help for hospital visits were provided with cab facility from the MLA’s help desk.

Another case much discussed in the media in the second week of April was Fathima. Four months pregnant, Fathima informed on the WhatsApp group that she was experiencing slight bleeding. Immediately the doctors in the group asked her to visit the hospital. But later after speaking to her, Veena came to know that she had to climb down a hill to wash clothes and climb up after fetching water and that might have caused her bleeding. She posted an audio clip in the group explaining her situation.

“She was staying at her husband’s house as her mother and sister were in quarantine at her house. She told me she had to go down a hill to wash clothes and after coming up she gets tired. That is when I contacted officer Vinod from the fire force. They readily agreed to provide water at her house,” Veena says.

The fire force filled the overhead tanks in Fathima’s house. As per reports, water was also provided to neighbours who faced water scarcity.

Though the WhatsApp group was formed during the lockdown, the MLA says that they are planning to continue the system as many are using the facility even after lockdown relaxations, Pathanamthitta being free from COVID-19. She also says that the groups have women from other constituencies too.

The Ammayum Kunjum initiative is among the many activities started by the Karuthal helpdesk functioning at the MLA’s office.

“COVID-19 positive Keralites from abroad also call us. Many of them haven’t informed their families fearing that they would get anxious. For such people, we offer the facility to talk to doctors here,” Veena says.

“We have also sent medicines to people abroad who are being treated by doctors here. We were able to send urgent medicines for a 2.5-year-old child,” she shares some experiences.

Another acclaimed project was providing medicines to the elderly during the lockdown. People who were financially affected were provided free medicines while volunteers helped others who needed to get medicines from afar.

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