Friday December 14, 2018

Kaushalya – a health worker in Chamba village promoting maternal care since decades

Kaushalya has been working a remote village Kalsuin in Chamba district since last 31 years

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Ravi River, Chamba. Wikimedia Commons
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Chamba (Himachal Pradesh), April 22 :

In spite of advancing years, health worker Kaushalya, whose name roughly translates into “ability to do something well”, is showing the light to women in one of the remotest areas of Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh. She has, in fact, dedicated 31 years to propagating institutional deliveries and providing health services like intrauterine contraceptive device and other contraceptive methods.

Kaushalya, 58, has been posted at the Kalsuin health sub-centre, 17 km from this town, some 450 km from the state capital Shimla, for the past 28 years.

“It’s only the self-motivation and my inner spirit that drive me towards someone who’s in labour and needs my help. I didn’t mind working odd hours and in hostile weather. I love to provide 24-hour maternal healthcare facilities,” a beaming Kaushalya told IANS.

In her profession as a female health worker, she has performed over 3,000 deliveries and related procedures — without even a single case of either maternal or child mortality or foetus abortion.

At times, she also faces, with determination, the sensitive topic of female foeticide and the bias against the female child.

Nako village, Himachal Pradesh. Wikimedia Commons
Nako village, Himachal Pradesh. Wikimedia Commons

In recognition of her efforts to promote female reproductive health in the area, dominated mainly by the marginal and small farmers, the state government has designated Kalsuin sub-centre in the Churi block as the only “delivery point” in the state.

The five-bedded centre, which has a labour room and a baby-care room, has a provision of one male and one female health worker each.

According to her, in the past one decade she has conducted over 2,500 institutional deliveries and 257 intrauterine contraceptive device insertions at the Kalsuin centre, which caters to 18 villages with a population of around 2,000.

Most of the time she is the lone health worker posted there, despite the provision of a male health worker. There is no provision of a gynecologist or pediatrician.

She has handled many emergency cases as the specialist services are far removed from the Kalsuin centre.

“I can handle both antenatal and postnatal care,” said Kaushalya, who is retiring in December.

In 1985, she joined the state health services as a female health worker at Dalli in Chamba district’s Bharmour block.

Three years later, she was transferred to Kalsuin. At that time, the health centre was functioning from the panchayat building and lacked proper infrastructure.

It was because of her efforts that the health centre was shifted to a new building equipped with proper facilities.

Kaushalya, who was trained by Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust in reproductive and child healthcare, started midwifery in 1995 by facilitating deliveries at homes. Since 2005, she has been performing institutional deliveries at the Kalsuin centre.

Her contribution was recognised by the state government by conferring on her a district-level award in 2010 and a state level in 2011.

Himachal Pradesh is the only state in the country where 89.96 percent of the population as per 2011 census lives in rural areas.

To appreciate the enormity of Kaushalya’s contribution, one only needs to read the latest report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, which states that Himachal Pradesh has failed to provide 24-hour maternal healthcare facilities at 84 percent of its primary health centres under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

Of the 500 primary health centres, only 81 (16 percent) have been upgraded to provide round-the-clock delivery services but none of these had basic obstetric and nursing facilities like availability of a gynecologist, staff nurses and skilled birth attendants, the report said.

It said that out of the 500 primary health centres, labour rooms and newborn care units were not available in 308 and 493 centres.

During 2010-15, a total of 668,442 pregnant women were registered in the state.

Only 354,022 (53 percent) institutional deliveries were ensured in government institutions against the targeted 467,909 (70 percent), the CAG added. IANS

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at vishal.g@ians.in)

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Concerned Over The Rise of Drug Usage In The State: Himachal Governor

A three-day horse trade-cum-exhibition was organised before the beginning of the Lavi Fair.

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There are countless mothers who have been constantly tormented by drug-dependent adolescent children. Pixabay

Himachal Pradesh Governor Acharya Devvrat on Sunday expressed concern over the rise in drug addiction, particularly among the youth in the state, and called for concerted efforts to tackle the menace.

“Effective steps have been taken by the government and police administration, but we all need to work together in this direction,” he said at the inauguration of the centuries-old Lavi Fair in Rampur town, which was once a centre of barter trade with Tibet.

He called upon the people to promote natural farming. The state government has made a provision of Rs 25 crore to promote natural or organic farming to produce chemical-free food.

The 400-year-old Lavi Fair has undergone a sea change with the rural folk’s changing lifestyles and aspirations, resulting in a greater sale of gadgets and automobiles than traditional items such as farm implements, livestock and dry fruits.

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‘The traders from across the border have stopped coming’ Pixabay

The fair dates back to the time when Raja Kehari Singh of Rampur Bushahr state signed a treaty to promote trade with Tibet.

Rampur, 120 kilometres from state capital Shimla, was once a major trade centre as it is located on the old silk route connecting Afghanistan, Tibet and Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir.

“People have stopped buying farm implements, horses and sheep. Now, they prefer to shop luxury goods like television sets and automobiles,” trader Ishwar Goyal told IANS.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur will preside over the concluding session of the fair on November 14.

Another trader Deepak Negi said Rampur was a centre of trade before the 1962 India-China war.

The traders from Tibet used to bring raw wool, butter, herbs and leather products and bartered them for wheat, rice, farm implements and livestock.

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Rampur, 120 kilometres from state capital Shimla, was once a major trade centre as it is located on the old silk route connecting Afghanistan. Pixabay

“Now, the traders from across the border have stopped coming. Indian multinational companies come here to sell their products. The fair has largely lost its relevance,” he added.

A three-day horse trade-cum-exhibition was organised before the beginning of the Lavi Fair. The main attraction during the exhibition were the Chamurthi horses – an endangered species known as the ‘Ship Of the Cold Desert’. Being a surefooted animal, it is mainly used for transporting goods in the Himalayas.

Also Read: Quitting Junk Food May Cause You to Suffer Withdrawal Symptoms Similar to Drug Addition

The Chamurthi horse traces its origin to the Tibet region. In India, it’s bred in the villages of Himachal Pradesh bordering China.

The fair sees several folk artistes from Punjab and Himachal Pradesh perform. (IANS)