Sahiya sees proof of life, saves baby given up for dead

PM Modi heaps praise on health worker at videoconference, CM Das gifts cheque of RS 1 lakh

By Our Special Correspondent in Jamshedpur
  • Published 13.09.18
ROLE MODEL: Chief minister Raghubar Das hands over a cheque of Rs 1 lakh to health worker Manita Devi in Ranchi on Wednesday. Telegraph picture

Jamshedpur: A health worker from a rebel-hit village in Seraikela-Kharsawan has earned plaudits from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Raghubar Das for displaying great presence of mind that gave a newborn boy a new lease of life.

Manita Devi (42), a homemaker from Urmal village in Chandil, was lauded by the Prime Minister on Tuesday for saving the life of a newborn who was assumed dead by the family by putting to good use her neonatal care training.

Modi was interacting with anganwadi sevikas, ANMs (auxiliary nurse midwives) and sahiyas through video conferencing when he mentioned Manita.

On Wednesday, chief minister Raghubar Das gave her a cheque of Rs 1 lakh at Project Bhavan in Ranchi.

However, Manita Devi, a mother of three (two boys and a girl), is visibly embarrassed by all the attention she is getting.

" Woh to mera duty tha. Jo mujhe training mein sikhaya gaya tha, wohi maine kiya. (It was my duty. I did what I have been trained to do)," said Manita Devi, one among the nine sahiyas (a term for accredited social health activist (ASHA) under the health department), at Urmal village.

Recalling that day (July 27), Manita said she received a call at 2 in the night.

"Manisha Singh Munda, who had delivered the boy, and others in the family were in distress as the newborn was lying motionless and not crying. Assuming the child to be dead, the family members were preparing for his cremation. After a lot of persuasion, they agreed to let me have a last look. I could feel the child's pulse and heartbeat. I took out the suction pipe from my bag and sucked out water from the child's nose and rubbed him with a cotton cloth. All of a sudden it let out a cry. The mother started crying and tears rolled down my cheeks as well," Manita said.

She asked the new mother to breastfeed the boy, called 108 and rushed both of them to Chawlibasa health sub-centre.

The baby, which weighed 2kg 200gm at birth, is now 2kg 800gm and healthy. He has been named Jagannath Munda.

Manita, who matriculated from Getalsud in Ranchi, has received training at Chandil and Seraikela health centres.

She has been working as a sahiya since 2006 and has facilitated the successful delivery of over 50 newborns so far. "I have given me and my husband's (Binoy Lohar, a worker in a factory at Chowka) mobile numbers to the mukhiya and almost everyone having a pregnant woman at home. Though I have to look after my family, I am readily available for help if anyone is in distress," the sahiya said.

Manita's elder son is hearing-impaired and studies in a residential school in Chaibasa while her daughter and youngest son study in Class III and I, respectively, in government schools at Urmal.