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Nagaland facing maternal & child healthcare crisis: AMK

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Dimapur, September 3: The Angamimiapfü Mechü Krotho (AMK) has expressed serious concern over the maternal and child health care crisis in Nagaland in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and appealed to the Government of Nagaland and the Department of Health & Family Welfare to wake up to the plight of helpless mothers.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has hit everyone hard. But the worst-hit are those who often do not have the means to tell their hardship and has left some people more wounded than the rest. Regular human activities have been bought to a grinding halt, but not the progression of diseases and other medical conditions.
“Lack of affordable health care is a crisis in itself. The Covid pandemic has made the crisis even more acute and unbearable for many people living on daily wage. The brunt of the Covid-19 crisis fell upon the poor ailing and expectant mothers. As mothers, our hearts break at the heart wrenching stories and the untold sufferings of those who are less fortunate and have suffered in silence without respite,” said AMK president Kevinourheno Seyie and general secretary Shürhivino Nakhro in a statement.
The AMK stated that with the various Government District Hospitals closed to the public for general patient care, there are many patients who have been suffering silently with excruciating difficulty especially expectant mothers seeking normal deliveries or caesarean sections, and other patients seeking surgical treatment, cancer care and renal failure patients in need of dialysis.
“In the dilemma of the non-availability of public health care, many have been forced to seek health care in the private sector beyond their means which is unaffordable to many. The lockdown and the loss of wages and earning have deepened the personal financial crisis further more. Many have incurred huge debts in the pursuit of health care in private sectors.”
The AMK stated that while all District Hospitals are expected to ensure that measures are taken to provide health care services even in the times of COVID, Kohima has all the more reason to ensure the provision of general health care services in Government hospital, not because the people living in Kohima deserves it more than the others, but because it is the referral health center for all the other districts and patients come to Naga Hospital Authority Kohima (NHAK) from far and wide.
In terms of infrastructure, manpower, facility and resource, the NHAK is better off compared to the rest. As such it is imperative that the public health care services resume at the earliest, it being the only Government health center in the whole State providing cancer care as well as dialysis and a state-of-the-art ICU. Although the protem Out Patient Services provided by NHAK at the PMTI make-shift OPD is appreciated, the lack of inpatient facility, child delivery and operating facility does not mitigate the distress of the poor. While there were some talks that NHAK will resume the public health care services to the relief of many who depend on government hospitals for their health care, nothing has changed on the ground despite the lapse of several weeks, it said.
Stating that while the maternal mortality rate has been brought down considerably over the years, the AMK expressed fear that denial of services in the wake of COVID-19 would turn back the clock by several years behind if the COVID-19 related activities have to continue at the cost of many other patients suffering from other medical conditions, most specifically maternal and child care.
“Of all the services denied to the public by government hospitals, it seems most unfair to expectant mothers and the lack of affordable maternal care is most unfortunate for the fact that the two lives are put at risk, or that the whole family is put in financial jeopardy by having to seek the same in private sector which is often beyond the means of many a poor mother,” it maintained.
“To endure and nurture a pregnancy is an arduous task beyond the miracle of life. But to have been denied the service of an affordable health care is even worse and can be seen as not only a failure on the part of the government, but also a violation of their human rights. It could often be very well a tragic death sentence by the process of child birth for some who cannot afford the exorbitant maternal care in the private sector,” it said while urging the Government to ensure that no lives are lost for want of services in the district hospitals. (Page News Service)