Palakkad: Tribal colonies in Kerala have been plagued with backwardness for generations despite special programmes launched by successive governments. Attappadi in Palakkad district best epitomises the hard lot of tribal folks. The latest figures of the Kerala health department reveal that as many as 245 out of the 426 pregnant women here are on the high-risk list owing to a slew of health issues.
Out of the total number of pregnant women, 218 are from the Scheduled Tribe category and of these, 191 are on the list.
The pregnant women are included in the high-risk list, while considering several health parameters such as anaemia, malnutrition, risk of miscarriage, sickle cell, risk of abortion, underweight, and congenital diabetes. The decision on whether to include the woman in the list is taken only after scanning is held at least five times. Among these, the most clear picture on the health status of the mother and the foetus is obtained during the scan in the fifth month, the health department officials explained.
But as there is no permanent radiologist in Attappadi, there are difficulties in carrying out scans at regular intervals. Doctors from other hospitals are brought in for scanning.
The usual practice is to provide counselling for pregnant women, who are on the high-risk list, and move them to Coimbatore or Thrissur Medical College. But the officials pointed out that this is dangerous as the roads are in a battered condition.
Earlier Manorama had reported that the financial assistance meant for pregnant women in the tribal belt of Attapadi has been pending for months since March following the restrictions imposed by the finance department.
The recommended weight for women while becoming pregnant is at least 45kg. But in Attappady, 98 of the 426 pregnant women weigh less than 45kg. Of this, 90 belong to the scheduled tribe category.
UDF team arriving
A United Democratic Front (UDF) team, led by opposition leader V D Satheesan, will visit Attappadi on Monday.