Government interventions have failed to stop anemia and maternal mortality for Adivasi women in Assam's tea plantations, a Delhi based NGO, Nazdeek, said in a report released in Guwahati on Monday.
"Adivasi women in Assam face multiple barriers to combating anemia and accessing adequate maternal health care. Various government interventions meant to combat anemia are insufficient and unsuccessful in reaching the women they are intended to serve," said the Nazdeek report.
Nazdeek's website describes itself as a legal empowerment organization committed to bringing access to justice closer to marginalized communities in the country. "There are many health services mandated by law to combat anemia and decrease maternal mortality, but they are not reaching women on the ground," Nazdeek co-founder and Executive Director Jayashree Satpute told reporters. Free nutritional supplements vital for women during pregnancy owed to them under government scheme are not being disbursed to any woman across the state, she claimed.
"Poor access to health and nutrition is exacerbated by tea plantation workers' poor wages and exploitative working conditions," Satpute said. She said the report, "A matter of life and death: Surviving child birth in Assam's tea plantations", was prepared after talking to 110 women in four districts -- Sonitpur, Golaghat, Dibrugarh and Kokrajhar.
The latest (June, 2018) report of maternal mortality rate (MMR) of Assam is 174, Satpute said adding that the situation has improved in Assam from the February figure of 300, but the state is still at the bottom nationally. The MMR is the annual number of female deaths per 1,00,000 live births from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management. Satpute said the report would be presented to Assam Government soon.
Mary Surin Tete, central body member of the All Adivasi Women's Association of Assam, said it is difficult to secure ambulance during pregnancy due to challenging terrain. Alleging that tea garden authorities hide information from the government, Tete called for increasing the 102 ambulance service in the tea garden areas. Assam State Commission for Women member Niyati Dey said the Commission will take up the issues pointed out in the Nazdeek report.