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It’s a very common perception that sorry saga of affairs in rural health sectors in Bihar where in many occasion poor patients in rural areas have to die in absence of any proper health facilities. But in the Maoists hinterland, Jamui, there is one Nirmala, a health staff who at least breaks such myths with her dedication and devotion in her profession.
Soon after Sun rise she starts paddling her cycle towards her destinations, most inaccessible localities inside Maoists’ dens. Medical kits including ice boxes for vaccines are always fixed on the carrier of her cycle and just with a ring of her cycle bell at any locality, people mostly children and their mothers turn busy to welcome the ‘doctor Didi’ at their door steps.
Meet 36-year old Nirmala Marandi, an auxiliary nurse midwifery (ANM) posted at Chihara sub heath center, under Chakai block in Jamui district. For the residents in such villages located inside forests or on hilly terrains which are also known as the dens of rebels, Nirmala is an angle sent by the God to save them. While for officials in the health department, she is an active and dutiful staffs who knows better how to complete her assignments.
Nirmla broke the tradition in district like Jamui where health services in remote areas virtually defunct and hardly any doctor could available in such health centers. “Who will came here daily for our causes, the health staffs usually avoid to come in such remote places but the doctor Didi frequently visit us and provide us medicines,” said Putul Baski, a homemaker at Ghaskol village.
While echoing her, Santi Hembrom, another homemaker at Rehma recalled after the birth of her second child, doctor Didi had taken care for all the immunizations of her baby at Santi’s dooer step. “I would have been to walk not less than 12 km to Chakai otherwise for the immunization,” she said.
Nirmala who has been woking in the halth department since 2008 soon after the death of her husband has taken up the responsibilities to look after sick village people particularly the children and their months. She herself completed almost 80 percent immunization in her areas. “Over all Jamui district has completed 60 percent immunization but Nirmala singly conducted 80 percent at her areas, said a health source here.
“I use to carry some tiffin with me but many occasion I don’t have time to eat,” she told. She daily travels 20-25 kms in remote villages. “I don’t know who is Maoists or not but many times I saw armed people. Many time they stopped me but I politely requested them not to disturb me for the sake of children and women in remote areas who don’t have any other suitable option for health facilities,” she told
“She could have easily been avoided her ventures inside highly inaccessible topographies like others. She might have excused for the Maoists areas and could not go to her duty. But while ignoring such hurdles she fearlessly uses to move from one village to another village for immunizations and created the record of 80 percent. Several time we found her performing duty inside such remote villages. With more the ANM like Nirmala, we easily could change the entire scenario,” said Sudhansu Narayan, district programme officer (DPM), Zila Swasthya Samity, Jamui.
Arun Bohora, a social activists at Jhajha said that persons like Nirmala should be encouraged so that to continue such zeal for health services among others. “People in the Maoists hinterlands where there is no basic civic amenities and other basic facilities, person like Nirmala at least could do her best to save many lives,” he pointed out.