This Jharkhand nurse crosses river with her baby on her back to vaccinate children

Manti Kumari from Jharkhand travels nearly 35 kilometres every day, crossing rivers and tough terrains with her 1.5 year-old-daughter on her back, to vaccinate young children.

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our lives upside down. While some of us are dealing with the challenges of working from home and managing household chores, many others have lost jobs.

But for Manti Kumari, a contractual auxiliary nurse midwife in Jharkhand, it is a different ball game altogether.

Given the responsibility of conducting an immunisation programme for young children in Mahuadanr Block of Latehar in Jharkhand, she has to not only travel 35 kilometres, cross tough terrains, and cover eight villages, but has to do this while carrying her one-and-a-half-year-old daughter on her back and an equipment box on her shoulder.

Manti says she has been following this routine for over a year now.

“As some of the villages that I am supposed to cover are located far away, with rivers on its way, there is no choice but to cross it. Though these rivers are not very deep, there are always chances of getting carried away along with the stream during the rainy season. Sometimes, when the level of water increases, I have to skip that village till the water recedes,” Manti told The New Indian Express.  

Image: TNIE

After conducting the immunisation programme, Manti has to travel 25 kilometres to the Chetma Health Centre from Mahuadanr, where she lives with her husband, Sunil Oraon. Sunil lost his job during the lockdown, which makes Manti the sole breadwinner in the family. Apart from visiting villages six days a week, she has the responsibility of taking care of the child and feed the family.

Manti said she visits Tisiya, Goira, and Sugabandh villages at least once every month, and has to cross river Burra at three different places. Her husband helps her cover a part of the journey due to the unavailability of public transport caused by the lockdown.

Amit Khalkho, a medical officer at Chetma health sub-centre, said: “Manti travelling the entire distance along with her daughter on her back is really commendable.”

The way Manti has taken the responsibility of not only her family but all the other children in a region, which lacks proper healthcare facilities, fills us with hope and admiration.

(Written by Vrinda Garg)

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Edited by Megha Reddy


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