Palakkad: A stillborn child has added up the number of tribal baby deaths in Attappady to 15 this year. Official data says only 13 babies have died in this tribal zone this year, but unofficial estimate is that the latest death is the 15th. In 2017, the toll was 14.
The baby boy of Palaniswami and Thankamma of Nelliyampathi colony was born dead at a private hospital in Anakkatty on Friday night. Doctors confirmed the baby was stillborn, even as reports said the mother did not receive adequate medical attention.
Thankamma was admitted for delivery at the government-run tribal hospital on December 19. She developed labour pains on Friday night, and had to be shifted to the private hospital as the gynaecologist was not available at the tribal hospital.
Hospital authorities said the child was dead in the womb by the time Thankamma arrived there.
Malnutrition death of babies have not been reported from Attappady for the past five years. However, death caused by genetic debility and choking on breast milk are on the rise.
A gynaecologist has not been available for quite sometime at the Kottathara tribal hospital, the only facility that local people can rely on in the area. Not only that, one of two doctors posted there has been on leave for the past three months. The other has gone for a government training lasting a fortnight. No alternative arrangement has been made. Besides, some other doctors have been sent for Sabarimala duty.
Several gynaecology specialists are available at the Palakkad Medical College and the district hospital. A few of them can be deputed to Attapady, but the department of health hasn't done so. Even Health Minister K K Shylaja hasn't reportedly responded though Attapady special officer K Prabhudas had notified her about it.
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