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Husband carries ailing wife on back for 40 km to hospital but unborn baby dies

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 11th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

While the nation of India is emerging as an economic powerhouse in south Asia, many of that nation's rural communities remained mired and poverty. Many faraway rural communities may lack transportation, hospitals and many other facts of 21st Century life that the rest of the world takes for granted.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In one such recent, tragic incident, an Indian man was forced to carry his carry his ailing pregnant wife to the hospital. Loading his seven-month pregnant wife on his back from their tribal home in the forest in order to reach the nearest hospital almost 40 km away, the couple lost their unborn child in the process.

From a tribal community in the Indian state of Kerala, the husband reportedly had to walk by foot for an entire day before they came across a passing vehicle whose driver agreed to take them to the nearest hospital.

Kunjamma Roy, head of the gynecology department at Kottayam Medical College where the woman had been taken, said that the "woman's life could be saved, but the baby could not be saved. We induced labor for delivery of the dead fetus."

India's tribal populations make up more than eight percent of its 1.2 billion populations. Many live in remote villages, living from farming, cattle rearing and selling fruit and plants from the nearby forests. Literacy, child malnutrition and maternal and infant mortality in these communities are among the worst in the world.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says 63,000 women die annually during childbirth due to a lack of reproductive health services.

Poverty remains a chronic condition for almost 30 percent of India's rural population. The incidence of rural poverty has declined somewhat over the past three decades as a result of rural to urban migration.

Poverty is deepest among members of scheduled castes and tribes in the country's rural areas. In 2005 these groups accounted for 80 percent of poor rural people, although their share in the total rural population is much smaller.

Large numbers of India's poorest people live in the country's semi-arid tropical region. In this area shortages of water and recurrent droughts impede the transformation of agriculture that the Green Revolution has achieved elsewhere. There is also a high incidence of poverty in flood-prone areas such as those extending from eastern Uttar Pradesh to the Assam plains, and especially in northern Bihar.

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