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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Health concerns on Tea Estates

The Assam Tribune Online

 Health still a major concern in TEs

Staff correspondent
 DIBRUGARH, Sept 4 – Despite several initiatives by the State government, health conditions in tea estates of Assam have continued to worry the Health department. Health intervention undertaken by Bal Sakha Assam, a social organisation, among adolescent girls in Mohanbari tea estate has exposed deteriorating health conditions among plantation workers and their children.

Sixty per cent of adolescent girls were found underweight. Out of 79 per cent who were found anaemic, 50 per cent of the girls have severe and 29 per cent have mild anaemia. Moreover, 40 per cent have menstrual problems. Infant mortality and maternal mortality rates among tea garden working communities is also one of the highest in the country.
Dr Aditya Chatterjee, Bal Sakha official who organised the health programme among adolescent girls in Mohanbari tea estate with the help of medical experts from Assam Medical College and Hospital (AMCH) and Lahoal PHC on Saturday, said that the girls lacked awareness about basic health.
“Food habits and lifestyle of this hardworking community is a major factor for detriorating health conditions among them,” he expressed.
Following interaction with the adolescent girls, it was also revealed that drinking was too much among the members of the working community in TEs, Chatterjee said. At first, weight and height of each girl were measured to calculate the Body Mass Index (BMI) of every adolescent girl. The blood group test and haemoglobin test were conducted by lab technicians of Lahoal PHC.
After the tests, one-to-one interaction and health check-up were carried out by Dr Sudhir Bagrodia, child specialists Dr Tulika Goswami Mahanta of community medicine, AMCH and Dr Mukesh Fogla, gynaecologist of Shristi Hospital. The management officials of Mohanbari tea estate and hospital staff of the tea garden and ASHA workers of the area also took part in the programme.
Bal Sakha is also planning to provide free treatment of eye problems to any adolescent girl through KK Saharia Eye Hospital, Dibrugarh. Dr Chatterjee said that a health card would be issued to individuals with eye problems to avail the free treatment. Dr Aditya asked the girls to build pressure on their mother to leave chewing of tobacco and chulai.
Dr Tulika demonstrated how to wash hands and told the gathering about how to check diarrhoea.
It needs to be mentioned here that the communication strategies of the health sector is hardly a success in tea gardens. Janani Suraksha Yojana, Mamata, Mamoni and other health projects of the State government have almost failed in its objective.

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