22 January 2015: Baghmara, Jharkhand
This Republic Day in India, hundreds of women and men will be awarded for their bravery and service to the nation. There will be countless others like Ahilya Devi who will remain unsung heroes despite their tireless efforts to serve their communities.
Ahilya Devi, a septuagenarian, is the Auxiliary Nurse Midwife of the local healthcare centre in Radhanagar. She currently looks after the Block level centre and supervises the running of 14 Anganwadi Centres (Child care centres) in different villages. Technically she must look after only 8.
Apart from being over-worked, Ahilya also faces problems because there are no provisions for electricity or water at her centre. These not only hamper her ability to provide for those who come for medical attention but also put the lives of mothers and children at risk.
Ahilya, who has now verbally complained at every Block Level meeting every time a senior official drops by, says:
“We used to have rechargeable emergency lights, but those are broken. [If the lights go at night], we have to use candles and torches. How can we put stitches in this light?”
Her duties involve looking after the pregnant women and women with new born babies– giving them nutrients, vaccinations, performing deliveries and so on.
Despite Ahilya’s efforts, it’s the children and mothers who suffer. Today, you can recognise this woman’s contribution and honour her by taking her request to the Medical Officer who can change things.
Call to Action: Please call the Medical Officer of Baghmara District on +91 9431-511-876 and ask him to get all the needed provisions at the Radhanagar Health Centre and appoint a second ANM to support Ahilya