BAJHANG, Feb 17: Women and children in the remote villages of Bajhang district have been deprived of vaccination and iron tablets.
The government has not been able to provide vaccination and crucial drugs to mothers and babies in Dhuli, Neula, Dhalaun, Lataun, Gorkhali, Chuhawan, Bijiyawan, Lamagada, Suil and Mayana, among other rural villages in the district. Pregnant women in these areas do not even go for regular health check ups as they hardly meet health workers at the health posts.
“I am 37 and have given birth to five children so far. But I've never had a health check up during my pregnancy. I don't know what an iron tablet looks like,” said Suntali Rokaya, a local of Kanda VDC. “Nobody had asked me about it before,” she added.
Rokaya never thought of seeking medical attention during her pregnancies due to the long distance to be covered to reach even the nearest health post. “It takes an entire day to reach the nearest health post,” she said, “The health workers do not bring iron tablets or injections here. We do not go to them because of the distance.”
According to the locals, health workers sometimes visit the villages with medicines and injections but such visits are rare and, hence, of hardly any use.
Rumati Bohora, a local of Prithivi municipality - 6 said that iron tablets and other medicines meant for pregnant women are not provided adequately even in towns, let alone in the villages. “Not always can they provide us with the free iron supplement or other medicines. Similarly, due to the lack of awareness, pregnant women do not opt for a regular health check up even in the town areas,” she said. “Radio and televisions advertise messages of health centers but in reality, only a few women follow the instructions,” she added.
Meanwhile, Karbire Bohora, a former president of Bhairabnath VDC - 7, blamed the health workers for the sorry situation. He claimed that the villagers are deprived of government services because of the negligence or irresponsibility of the health workers. “They are so careless that they do not show up at the health posts. This has adversely affected the health of women and children in the rural areas,” Bohora said.