Chhatarpur: A malnourished child weighing just 1.5 kg is struggling for its survival for the past 15 days in Ghuwara village of Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh. Born to a 21-year-old mother Rampyari Raikwar, both the newborn and mother have been abandoned by the family. Rampyari is compelled to live in an old age home these days.
Rampyari’s husband Mohan who had migrated to Delhi in search of work took her along with him. She also started working with him as a labourer.
“I used to work as a labourer along with my husband in Delhi where I conceived the child. He used to beat me up a lot and abandoned me soon after I conceived the child. I had to struggle a lot and work at construction sites daily to get food. So I came back to my parents’ place”, said Rampyari.
She delivered the child at a native place 15 days ago, but as the child was extremely weak and malnourished and needed immediate medical attention. But her parents failed to help her. A local social organisation that runs an old age home gave shelter to Rampyari and her newborn. However, the mother and child is yet to get medical attention.
“I could not get proper food during my pregnancy. I had to work as labourer to get food. I didn’t receive any medical attention and even delivered the child at home,” said Rampyari.
Rampyari is just an example of the life of pregnant women in districts like Chhatarpur, Satna, Panna, Tikamgarh and so on, where people migrate to other states in huge numbers looking for work. Poor scope of agricultural activities in these areas have compelled men to migrate to different states to earn money.
Men take their wives along with them to other states where they work together either at construction sites or in different factories. Women work as a labourers even after conceiving and come back to their villages at a much later stage of pregnancy.
Despite availability of better health facilities in cities where these women work, they prefer to return to their respective villages for the delivery their babies.
In all the villages this reporter visited, it was seen that women prefer to deliver children in their homes instead of going for institutional deliveries.
According to women, they feel safe and comfortable in their homes. Moreover, they do not have money to spend on hospital delivery, because despite free healthcare in government hospitals they have to spend some money on travel, medicine and so forth.
After returning to their respective villages, lives of these pregnant women with 7-8 months of their pregnancy become extremely tough. They not only have to manage food and water for themselves, but also have move to forest to collect forest produce to earn money for a livelihood.