.........JAJPUR: After 24 malnutrition deaths in Nagada, the State Government has finally decided to start motorcycle ambulance service in the hilltop village.
This was informed by Health and Family Welfare Minister Pratap Jena, who visited Nagada, located on a hilltop in Sukinda Chromite valley, for the first time on Thursday after it hit headlines following malnutrition deaths. While last year, 21 children had died due to malnutrition, this year three succumbed.
The Health Minister said the motorcycle ambulance service is aimed at providing fast treatment to the ailing Juanga tribals. At present, one motorcycle ambulance will be deployed in the village and subsequently, a 108 ambulance will be permanently placed in Nagada.
Earlier, ambulances were not able to reach the remote village under Sukinda block due to poor road connectivity. There was no road to Nagada till malnutrition deaths were reported. After the deaths, the State Government was quick to construct a motorable road to the village.
Jena also said a health sub-centre would be set up at Kaliapani, about 10 km from Nagada, where a doctor would be posted on a permanent basis. Later, the sub-centre would be upgraded as a primary health centre. He said infrastructure at Sukinda community health centre would be upgraded soon and all vacant doctor positions will be filled up.
Expressing satisfaction over steps taken by the district administration to develop Nagada, Jena said inaccessibility of the village and ignorance of the Juangas were the reasons behind the underdevelopment of the village. “There are 50,000 Nagada-like villages in our country as on today. As tribals are residing in dense forests and inaccessible areas, they lack development. The State Government has taken a host of measures to improve the living condition of the tribals after the malnutrition deaths came to the fore,” he said.
Stating that the State Government is taking a host of measures for development of the tribals from its own resources, he asked the Centre to assist in the mission. “The State Government cannot do everything on its own as the development of Nagada necessitates proper planning besides, a huge amount of funds. Hence, the Central Government should come forward in extending a helping hand to the State,” Jena added.
Local legislator Pritiranjan Ghadei, Collector Ranjan Kumar Das and Chief District Medical Officer Phanindra Panigrahi accompanied the Health Minister, who stayed in the village for two hours and later visited the three hamlets of Nagada - Tala Nagada, Upar Nagada and Majhi Nagada.