A report on access to healthcare of Adivasi women working in tea gardens in northern Assam’s Sonitpur district has revealed that they face many obstacles like corruption, lack of services and poor quality of treatment denying them access to maternal healthcare.
By: SUSHANTA TALUKDAR
The report titled “No Time to Lose: Fighting Maternal and Infant Mortality through Community Reporting” states that most common violation of health rights of these women was undue payment or informal fees for medical services that should be provided free of cost.
After undue payment, three most heavily reported issues were lack of medical care (no doctor or nurse being present), ambulance unavailability (patients often having to hire private taxis) and undue hospital referral (patients being referred to four different hospitals while in labour).
The report also highlighted blood unavailability and inadequate hygiene and overcrowding as issues hindering access to adequate treatment.
The report was brought out as part of the project “End MM Now” initiated jointly by PAJHRA (Promotion and Advancement of Justice, Harmony and Rights of Adivasis), Nazdeek, a legal capacity building organisation based in New Delhi and the ICAAD (International Centre for Advocates Against Discrimination).
A group of 40 women volunteers living in Balipara and Dhekiajuli Blocks in the Sonitpur District were trained under the project to identify and report cases of health violations in their communities through SMS.
Blood unavailability, inadequate hygiene and overcrowding are some of the issues