People of some Bardibas villages deprived of health care servicesPoor infrastructure and a lack of roads have especially put pregnant women at high risk.
The residents of several villages in Bardibas Municipality, Mahottari have to walk for four hours to reach the nearest health post. Some villages like Chhodke, Jhyauray and Bhyangre do not even have motorable roads, and this has deprived the villagers of timely medical attention.
Poor infrastructure and a lack of roads in the villages have especially put pregnant women at high risk.
The closest health post with maternity services is in Khayarmara, a four-hour walk from these villages. Since the health post is too far to visit for regular checkups, the villagers take pregnant women there for medical examination only in case of complications.
“Pregnant women from these villages rarely come for prenatal checkups. They are only brought to the health post when they face complications,” said Kamala Giri, a health worker at Khayarmara Health Post.
Recently, 18-year-old Sumitra Magar was brought to the health post after her health deteriorated while giving birth. She had been unable to give birth even after two days of prolonged labour.
The villagers had to carry Magar all the way to the health post and back. She had a safe delivery the next day at the health post.
“If she had been brought to the health post on time, she would not have had to suffer for so long,” said Giri.
The lack of motorable roads has not only deprived the villagers of health services but it has also cut them off from education, drinking water and transportation services.
“The villagers have always lived in depravity,” said Deo Maya Magar, a local resident. “Before federalism, we did not even have access to institutional births. The local government established a birthing centre at the health post only a couple of years ago so that the women could have a chance at surviving difficult births.”
“Earlier, we had to go to Bardibas to give institutional births. It took us more than six hours to reach Bardibas on foot. At least now we have a birthing centre at Khayarmara,” she added.
According to her, health workers at the Khayarmara health post also pay home visits in case of emergencies.
“Pregnant women in Chhodke and Bhyangre villages do not come for health checkups so we go to the villages to monitor their health conditions,” said Mamata Rai, a staff nurse at the health post. “It’s difficult for pregnant women to make the journey to the health post so they don’t visit us unless it’s an emergency.”
Dhanraj Lama, ward chairman of Bardibas Municipality-11, says the local unit is working towards improving the health services at Khayarmara health post.
“We have constructed a new building for the health post at a cost of Rs 45,54,000 from the local unit’s budget. It will soon come into operation,” said Lama.
“We also have some development plans to cater to the residents of remote villages,” said Mayor Bidur Karki. “However, opening road tracks to the villages is a huge task because of the geographical remoteness of these villages. We are exploring all possible alternatives.”