Pregnant women have to walk to health care centres in rural Meghalaya

Road infrastructure is linked to the mandate of achieving efficiencies in healthcare delivery

The health care facilities of Meghalaya continue to remain inaccessible to the people hailing from the remote and rural areas of the state. And a large part of this problem can be squarely attributed to the deplorable road.
While Meghalaya Government is all set to upgrade the health infrastructure of the state from early next year, the current road conditions (ravaged by high rainfall) is a cause of grave concern in terms of its health ecosystem. For frequent landslides in many places anyway prevent people to travel to the places where the health care facilities are entrenched and available.
Health Minister of the state, AL Hek stated that pregnant women either have to walk five to ten kilometers to reach health care destinations or are ferried in bamboo or makeshift stretchers.
He added, "We are going to strengthen the health care system in the state so that women are encouraged to undergo institutional delivery."
The Meghalaya Government has pronounced its intention to upgrade the health infrastructure from early 2021
A recent news report has alarmed everyone for it categorically states that lack of an entrenched institutional delivery system has caused the death of 877 infants in just 4 months, while 61 pregnant women have died due to lack of medical attention, pneumonia and birth asphyxia.
Representative image
Image: Representative image
Given this scenario, there is no surprise regarding the high incidence of infant mortality rates in the state. Obviously the deplorable road conditions have discouraged institutional delivery.
The ongoing pandemic has also highlighted the fact that health centers of the state are far flung (from remote interior areas) and fairly inaccessible. One shudders to think how COVID emergencies will be tackled in this situation.
Blame it on the health department or the PWD, but it is evident that deplorable road conditions are the biggest challenge for Meghalaya in terms of securing an inclusive and accessible healthcare system.
Well the Meghalaya Government has indeed pronounced its intention to upgrade the health infrastructure from early 2021. However, what are its plans in terms of developing road infrastructure? After all road infrastructure is inextricably linked to the mandate of achieving efficiencies in healthcare delivery.

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