While the machines at more than 25 quarries have fallen silent in Turbhe, the settlements spread over 3-4 kilometres are still active with the hustle and bustle. Since the majority of migrant workers who worked in these quarries have been settled here over the years. They have searched for a different source of income in the vicinity and chose to stay back in the same location.
Settlements of a few houses in pockets near each quarry are spread over the foothill of Parsik hills. A large portion of it was excavated till the court ordered the stay. Road access to these remote locations becomes more difficult during the rainy season as boulders roll down with the rainwater and access roads have huge potholes due to frequent movements of heavy vehicles. The Health Department of Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation is taking special efforts to reach out to these communities, especially pregnant women and babies. Though regular immunisation sessions are conducted every Wednesday at Turbhe health centre. A mobile immunization session is conducted once a month to ensure each ANC and child completes the scheduled immunization and receives related health care services.
Dr. Maithili Shinde, Medical officer in charge of vaccination of a population of 33500 around Turbhe which is covered over 19 camps in a month. She told “Two mobile camps are organized one in Sanpada and another in the Turbhe quarry area. Sanpada quarry is easy to reach however Turbhe quarry is difficult. Therefore, the role of the Asha worker is crucial as she is the only contact with the community. She also follows up with every woman and child after vaccination.”
The population of this area was around 3000 when quarries were working. Some people left after quarry work halted and a few more people went back to their native place after Covid. At present around1800 people are living here. “People over here are cooperative they never say no to vaccination.” Says Vanita Mane. She is the AM (Auxiliary nurse Midwife), and she has been conducting mobile sessions in this area for the last 9 years.” It is difficult to work here in the rainy season. People can’t come to the centre to take medicines, especially women. We deliver medicines at their doorstep. The mobile network doesn’t work. we have to call an ambulance or have to take an auto to take women to Nerul or Vashi hospital for delivery.”
Kauslya Nandanware, an Aasha worker in the quarry area visits all houses and gives a coupon to each woman and child whose vaccination is due. All women come along with their children and immunization card once the ambulance reaches a designated spot. After each dose, they were told to wait for half an hour to observe if they have an adverse reaction.
During a mobile session in July Vanita More was communicating with a mother, “I have given a vaccine for Pneumonia on right leg and pentavalent vaccine on the left leg so your child won’t have diarrhoea. I have put a red mark on the leg where you have to apply ice, do not rub it” Once Vinita was done with the child’s vaccination she asked the mother, “ Did you get periods after delivery?” she said “No”. “ Your son completed nine months now of I will give you one strip to make sure if you are not pregnant. I am giving you two packets of ‘Nirodh’ ask your husband to use them. I am wrapping it in a poster to read it. And these are the iron and calcium pills do take every day” Vinita convinced her.
Vanita Mane, ANM, Maya Bhoir, ANM, Kaushalya Nandanware, Asha worker. |
Surekha brought her year-old son Aashish for vaccination. She felt her son is low in weight. Sister checked his activities and weight and assured mother that he is perfectly alright and asked her to feed the child whatever she cooks at home and bring him for the next vaccination in January. Surekha returned home with a smiling face.
Krishna missed her son’s vaccination last month as he was not keeping well. She has completed the doses of her elder daughter in time. Bhagyashali who was waiting for her turn was expecting her second child. Getting vaccination and medicines at their doorsteps is helping the community to remain healthy. Health workers are trying their best to reach out to the community and complete 100 % target of immunization.