Why death stalks infants of Kerala's lone tribal block

Monday 08 July 2013


As advisor to prime minister visits
Author: M Suchitra
T K A Nair, advisor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will be visiting a few of the adivasi settlements in Attappady Tuesday. He will be holding discussions with officials on Wednesday on the implementation of the Rs 125 crore Central government package for Attappady.
Kerala chief minister claims it will provide food and livelihood security of tribals
Author: M Suchitra
The Indian Council for Agricultutal Research (ICAR) will be working on a comprehensive tuber crop development programme for Attappady. The programme, which might be launched soon, is aimed at the food and nutritional security of the tribes in Attappady, said Kerala Chief Minister OOmmen Chandy.
Kerala and Tamil Nadu hold secretary-level talks to arrange for patients to be referred to Coimbatore Medical College
Author: M Suchitra
Principal secretary of Health and Family Welfare Department, Rajeev Sadanandan, has said the state will approach its neighbour for an arrangement to provide specialised treatment to tribals referred from hospitals in Attappady to the nearby Coimbatore Medical College in Tamil Nadu.
Schemes launched by the government in Attappady have reduced the area’s tribals to wage labourers and disempowered them
Author: M Suchitra
Attappadi stands testimony to how land encroachment by outsiders and the mainstream development process of the government could deeply shatter an erstwhile self-sustained community.
Difference in the nutritional status of Kerala’s general rural populace and that of Attappady could be as high as 50 per cent
Author: M Suchitra
Kerala’s Attappady tribal block definitely suffers from under-nutrition but it it’s not as acute as in the tribal areas in states like Odisha, Madhya Pradesh or Andhra Pradesh.
Most men in tribal hamlets spend all their wages on hooch and women are doomed to shoulder the burden of their families
Author: M Suchitra
A few years ago, Vellinkiri, a tribal youth from Palakayooru, a tiny settlement of the Irula tribe in Attappady in Kerala’s Palakkad district, was found lying unconscious inside the forest. Somebody had poured spirit over his body and set him on fire. It was probably illicit liquor brewers who might have been afraid he would tip off the police. Vellinkiri had severe burns all over his body and later died in a hospital. Vellinkiri was just 22 and left behind his 20-year-old wife Thulasi and three children.
Attappady’s tribals have been alienated from their land by settlers as well as the government. This is the root cause of their poor health status and recent infant deaths
Author: M Suchitra
On June 6, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy visited Attappdy’s tribal settlements along with the Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramseh in the wake of the death of 30 tribal infants in five months from January to May. He announced that his government would be giving one acre (0.4 hectare or ha) of cultivable land to each landless tribal family in Attappady.
Doctors and staff at health centres, tribal hospital not following protocol for emergency maternal and new born care; essential drugs missing
Author: M Suchitra
A study carried out by a team of medical experts from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in May-end confirms the failure of the healthcare centres in Attappady in delivering proper care to pregnant tribal women, mothers and babies, leading to infant deaths.
K K Usha Raju took charge as president of Attappady block in Kerala seven months ago. She is 31 years old and belongs to Muduga tribal community. She has had formal education up to intermediate level. Her husband, Raju, is a wage labourer. She spoke to M Suchitra in detail about the plight of tribals in Attappady in the backdrop of the recent infant deaths
Author: M Suchitra
Report of Comptroller and Auditor General points to neglect by state
Author: M Suchitra
The death of 32 babies belonging to tribal communities of Attappady, the one and only tribal development block in Kerala, in a span of seven months is an indicator of how the state treats its children and marginalised communities.
Pregnant, anaemic, adivasi women do not even get iron tablets
Author: M Suchitra
Twenty-six-year-old Meenakshi, a resident of Edavani ooru, one of the 19 settlements of Kurumbas, a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) in Attappady block, lost her baby in the seventh month of pregnancy. Doctors at the primary health centre, which is 16 km from her house, had advised her to be taken to the Tribal Speciality Hospital because she was very anaemic and her condition was serious.
30 infants die in five months as result of malnutrition; rural development minister announces Rs 125 crore package
Author: M Suchitra
Attappady, the only tribal block panchayat in Kerala, hit the headlines following a series of infant deaths caused by malnutrition. According to the latest figures available with the Integrated Tribal Development Project office at Agali, the headquarters of the block, 30 infants have died this year till May 31, while data shows that 52 have died over the past 18 months.
Attappady fact
Attappady tribes
District: Palakkad
Areas: 745 sq km
Population: 70,000
Tribal population: about 40 per cent
Tribal families: Above 10,000 (Irula, Muduga, Kurumba communities)
Gram panchayats: 3 (Agali, Pudur, Sholayur)
Tribal settlements: 192 (ITDP figure)
Healthcare facilities: 38
Accredited social healthcare activists (ASHAs): 85
Anganwadi centres: 172
32 infants died between January 1 and July 5, 2013


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