Vaalaymapura (women’s ward)

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Athirappilly panchayat

It’s a hard life for Athirappilly tribeswomen, Mar 16, 2017: The Times of India

At present, a temporary 'Vaalaymapura' has been built using materials like dried grass, without electricity and basic amenities

THRISSUR: Adichithottil tribal colony in Athirappilly panchayat has 88 families residing in around 300 acres of forest land with at least one woman in each family. Lack of a proper 'Vaalaymapura', where the tribal women live during menstruation and post-delivery days, makes life miserable for these women here.

At present, a temporary 'Vaalaymapura' has been built using materials like dried grass, without electricity and basic amenities.

"Though funds have been allocated to build a proper 'Vaalaymapura' in the tribal colonies, lack of proper road makes it impossible to build one at Adichithottil colony," said Athirappilly panchayat president Thankamma Varghese.

For the past two years, the colony also faced a situation of couples deprived of children. "An inquiry revealed that the young women were using oral contraceptive pills to delay the menstruation which resulted in them failing to get pregnant," said DMO Dr K Suhitha, adding that an awareness drive to avoid using such pills had been launched by the health officials here. However, she added that only a 'Vaalaymapura' with proper facilities and sanitation could resolve the concerns of women here as changing their customs would not be practical. After delivery, it is customary for the mother and infant to spend about one month in the temporary shack built in the corner of the tribal colony. "Since men are barred from entering the 'Vaalaymapura', the women have to do all the works, including cooking alone there, making it the worst days for them, forcing them to avoid it," shared Varghese.

"The young women get the contraceptive pills from medical shops when they go to the town for the monthly purchases. Over 10 couples here did not bear any child due to this," said Jilsho George, medical officer, Vettilappara. "Since the Vaalaymapura should stick to the sanitation regulations, we can't construct it on our own. Though a tender was called earlier, nobody responded due to the lack of road to the tribal colony," added Varghese.

Adds Paruamma, a 70-year-old resident of the colony, " The young tribal women of this colony these days fear to stay there due to increasing instances of wild animal attack and lack of basic amenities."

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