Monday, May 2, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Dalit children refused to take immunisation by health worker in Naugaon area of Jagatsinghpur

Orissa: Dalit children refused to take immunisation by health worker
in Naugaon area of Jagatsinghpur
Monday, May 02, 2011

Report by Amarnath Parida; Jagatsinghpur: After Balikuda MID day meal
untouchability issue, another untouhablity issue has come to notice in
Naugaon block area while health workers refused to give immunization
to dalit children as they are considered untouchables.

Like most of the hospital and health camps, children have been taken
immunization and vaccine to various killer and other diseases but many
dalit children in rural areas have been deprived to get these
facilities due to untouchibility causing the rise of infant mortality
among poverty and lower caste families.

Unpleasant situation has been arisen at Deriki health camp recently
while upper caste health worker refused to immunize lower caste
children as they are considered as untouchables. Being harassed, dalit
women returned from the health camp with their children without taking
immunization recently.

Immunization includes routine immunization to the children below 1
year age and titanus to pregnant mothers being implemented in 178 nos
sub-centers under 8 blocks and 2 post partum centers in every
Wednesday. The programme is carried out for vaccinating against six
killer diseases like diphtheria, polio, titanus, B.C.G., measles and
whooping cough.

Some dalit women of Deriki village under Naugaon police limit came to
local health sub centers to take vitamin A and measles immunization to
prevent from related diseases. Village women have alleged that health
worker refused to give immunization to their children as her sacred
thread will be affected after touching with untouchable children.
Being harassed, these women returned from health centre without taking

Village women Sanjukta Sethy, Mamata Sethy, Henalata Sethy, Suprava
Sethy and others have alleged ' health worker refused to give
immunization to tier children as they are untouchables so we returned
with harassment and sought the intervention of health officials to
give justice to us'. On the other hand, many locals have alleged
'thousands of children of the SC community have been left out in the
vaccine and immunisation drive as many upper caste health workers used
to avoid visiting them due to their being SC and the poorest dalits,".

Official's sources said that in 2010-11, district targeted to give
measles immunization to 21092 while only 10544 infants have been
covered under immunization programme. Untouchability may be the reason
behind it while health workers ignored them in rural areas of this
district causing the rise of infant mortality.

Concerned health worker Ashalata Mohanty has expressed 'this
allegation against her is being based on personal rival but some women
has make it caste issue to take revenge on her'. She informed that
many women including their children returned without immunization
because their immunization's date was not on that day.

Medical Officer, Naugaon Mr Nrusingh Charana Das has expressed that he
has received verbal allegation but not received any written allegation
on this untouchability issue so department has conducted an inquiry
to find out the truth on said issue.


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