01 Apr 2014 - 31 Mar 2015
01 Apr 2014 - 31 Mar 2015
Public health care in Odisha is in a shambles. Amongst different groups, tribal and dalit women are especially discriminated in their access to health care facilities, reproductive rights, proper diagnosis of diseases, and nutritious food intake. About 40 % of women between 15-49 years, suffering from nutritional deficiency, have a body mass index (BMI) less than 18.5, and are therefore, more likely to give birth to low birth weight children, thus perpetuating inter-generational cycle of under nutrition (NFHS- III). The state continues to show poor performance in terms of key health indicators higher than national average. Maternal mortality ratio (MMR) at 235 per 1, 00, 000 live births is 4th among EAG states. The infant mortality rate is 59 which is much behind national figure. (AHS 2011-12)
Aditya Kumar Behera (23 Yrs) from Jhadabalaskumpa village of Khajuripada block (Kandhamal) is working to bring social change in his village. He is determined to stop the practice of exploitation of weak by the powerful and deceiving the weak in the name of illiteracy or lack of confidence to articulate.
Sarojini (20Yrs, Village- Boikumpa) had gone to Khajuripada Community Health Centre for institutional delivery on 6th Nov 2013. After observing her condition, Block Medical Officer referred her to district hospital in Janani Sishu Suraksha Karyakram(JSSK) ambulance. In district hospital the doctor demanded Rs 4000/- in pretext of caesarean section operation for delivery. Sarojini’s husband paid him Rs 3000/- from his hard earned saving and promised to give the rest amount later. Sarojini delivered a baby after operation. Then the doctor demanded the pending amount to discharge her from hospital. Her husband became helpless.
In desperation Sarojini’s husband shared the incidence with Aditya over phone. Aditya mobilised his friends along with some media persons and managed to reach the hospital promptly. Aditya informed the matter to the Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) and he instructed the respective doctor to discharge the patient without delay and assured the delegation to take action against the doctor. After 3 days the accused doctor came to Sarojini’s village and persuaded her husband to verify a letter written towards removing the corrupt charges against him. The couple informed Aditya about the arrival of the doctor and with no time he was available to dialogue with the doctor. Without losing time, Aditya mobilised the VHSC and community members over the matter. The doctor requested the community to forgive him and wanted to buy some time for returning the amount. The community under Aditya leadership set the time limit (by 31st Dec 2013) to return the bribe back otherwise they would take this matter to the Collector.
“I am proud to be part of the project for maternal health in our district and feel happy to help to my community in different occasions.” Aditya’s presences of mind, braveness benefited Sarojini’s family. His village people have great hope on him. His fight against exploitation, social taboo and illiteracy is commendable. He is presently serving his community by contributing to the Maternal Health project of Oxfam India as a Barefoot auditor.