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Carrying pregnant wife,Kerala tribal man walks 40 km to hospital

Couple are tribal nomads; doctors save woman,but baby dies

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram |
June 11, 2013 3:59:31 am

Carrying his ailing seven-month pregnant wife on his back,a nomadic tribal youth walked for almost an entire day before he finally got a vehicle to take her to hospital,in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. While he managed to save his wife,the couple lost their child.

Ayyappan and his wife,Sudha,reportedly left their home in Konni forest on Friday morning. When Sudha could not walk after some time,Ayyappan fashioned a sling from a piece of cloth and carried her on his back. By the time he spotted a vehicle,it was late evening.

While Ayyappan is not sure of the total distance he covered,he is reported to have walked about 40 kilometres. His wife was first taken to Pathanamthitta district hospital,from where she was sent to Kottayam medical college hospital on Sunday.

“The woman’s life could be saved,but the baby could not be saved. We induced labour for delivery of the dead foetus,” Dr Kunjamma Roy,head of the gynaecology department at Kottayam medical college,said. When the woman was brought to the hospital,she had oedema,high blood pressure and convulsions,Dr Roy said.

Pathanamthitta district tribal welfare officer Mohan Kumar said the couple belong to a nomadic tribal group,Malambandaram. Living in makeshift huts,they collect forest produce from a particular forest belt for a few months,before moving on to the next area.

Kumar said the couple had moved to Konni forest in the district about a month back from another forest tract in neighbouring Kollam district. There are around two dozen families belonging to the Malambandaram tribe in the Konni forest.

“If they are in a particular area,they install some signals — like putting some bottles on a pole — at the nearest forest road. Tribal welfare staff leave foodgrains at such places to enable them to collect the provisions,’’ he said,stressing that such groups have little contact with the outside world.

Naduvathumuzhi (Pathanamthitta district) forest range officer Suresh Babu said the couple may have lost their way in the forest. — With PTI

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