No road to access healthcare: three pregnant women die in Arunachal village

Khakam block in Longding district is among the most underdeveloped in the State

Lack of access to healthcare has reportedly claimed the lives of at least three pregnant women in a remote village of Arunachal Pradesh.

According to the residents of Kamhua Noknu village in Khakam Block under Pongchau Circle of Longding district, Nonsai Pansa died on November 5 on way to a hospital at district headquarters Longding about 30 km away.

Two other pregnant women — Polai Wangsa and Phechang Pansa — died earlier while in labour pain because the “absence of road” prevented them from receiving first aid support and healthcare workers from arriving in time.

Radhilu Chai Techi, the Chairperson of Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Women, did not respond to calls or messages. But a member said the commission has taken note of the deaths.

Mithuns, semi-wild bovines, rule the abandoned health centre at Kamhua Noknu village. | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

“Deprivation of basic amenities such as roads and hospitals has been the cause of death of many people in five villages under Khakam Block with a combined population of about 7,000,” said Noklam Pansa, one of the villagers.

Villagers said the only road to Khakam Block via Mintong village had been in a dilapidated condition since it was built 25 years ago. At least four “roads” have been cut through the undulating terrain, but these can hardly be used for vehicles.

Locals said the sick in the area would not have had to go out or seek healthcare experts from strategic places had the health centre in Kamhua Noknu been functioning.

The State government had spent ₹1.5 crore to build the health centre some time ago but it was virtually abandoned, they said.

The villages under Khakam Block fall within the Pongchau-Wakka Assembly constituency represented by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Honchun Ngandam, who is the State’s Rural Works Minister.

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