A Long Walk towards Maternal Health in this Jharkhand Village

Julia Murmu, a mother from Jharkhand walks almost three kilometres through dense forest with her young child for any health-related issue. Afraid of attacks from wild animals and overall safety, the mothers refrain from going to the nearby Anganwadi centre for medicines and vaccinations.

Under the Janani Suraksha Yojana and the Janani Shishu Suraksha Yojana, the Indian government’s scheme to bring down maternal and neonatal deaths, women and children are supposed to get nutrition and vaccinations at local anganwadi centres. Under the schemes, children between the age of 0-6 years also gain access to pre-school education, nutrition and vaccination

The video by Basanti Soren, our Community Correspondent from Jharkhand highlights how a tribal mother's in this Santhal-populated village of Lopongtandi in Jharkhand. As per the guidelines of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, a Mini-Anganwadi Centre can be started in tribal regions for as many as 150 people. However, Lopongtandi home to at least 450 Santhals does not have its own centre. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3), only 32.8 percent women from the scheduled tribe receive maternal healthcare, as compared to all India total of 50.2 percent.

Maternal mortality rate (MMR) in Jharkhand is 261 deaths per one lakh live births, which is much higher than the national average of 212 deaths. 41 children out of 1000, born in Jharkhand, don’t live to see a tomorrow. As India looks to fulfil the Sustainable Development Goal of good health and well-being for all, providing access to health centres to the 70% of the rural population becomes imperative.

Basanti is gathering momentum on the ground by organising community screenings in the village. She has also submitted an application with Rajeshwari B, the District Collector of Ramgarh.

Help the Santhal mothers and children to get access to the health facilities by calling the District Collector on +91-9431146500 and request that the village gets its Mini-Anganwadi Centre at the earliest.

This video was made by a Video Volunteers Community Correspondent Basanti Soren.

Community Correspondents come from marginalised communities in India and produce videos on unreported stories. These stories are ’news by those who live it.’ They give the hyperlocal context to global human rights and development challenges. See more such videos at www.videovolunteers.org.

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