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PM boosts tribal's anti- malaria hopes.

TWENTY seven- yearold tribal health worker Jamuna Mani Singh has been working tirelessly for past five years in the tribal hamlets of the backward Nilgiri block in Odisha's Balasore district-- about 200 km from the state capital-- trying to rid the area of malaria which is still reckoned as one of the biggest killers in the state.

During all these years of hard work, she was only honoured once during an Independence Day function. But for this class 9 drop- out, who is a mother to a 10- year- old boy, the praise that she received from Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Mann Ki Baat address last Sunday would remain the most cherished.

An accredited social health activist ( ASHA), Jamuna Mani said the prime minister's words of encouragement would make her work harder to save people from the dreaded disease that had also haunted her own village of Tendagaon on the outskirts of Kuldiha wildlife sanctuary.

" Witchcraft and black magic have been prevailing in my village and its adjoining areas.

When people fall ill, they visit witch doctors and quacks but won't take medicines from genuine doctors. Deaths from diseases like malaria had become regular in our area. But with my

consistent efforts to create awareness about malaria, things are beginning to change. Not a single malaria death has been reported from our area in last two years," she said.

Jamuna Mani was in her paddy field when her relatives rushed to inform her about the prime minister's mention of her work in his Mann Ki Baat address. With mediapersons arriving in the village, she has turned into a celebrity overnight.

In his radio address, Modi said that Jamuna Mani had resolved not to allow a single person die of malaria in her village.

" ASHA worker Jamuna Mani Singh works with full dedication to ensure that every child sleeps properly like her own. She fought against malaria and prepared the entire village to fight malaria.

There will be so many Jamuna Manis," the prime minister went on to say.

Jamuna Mani's husband Debendra Singh, who is a class 10 drop- out, has been a constant source of support and inspiration apart from her bicycle, which is her most trusted companion.

" Whenever I get to know of someone's illness, I rush there on my bicycle and persuade the patient to consult doctors and take proper medicines. If necessary I even accompany patients to the district headquarters hospital," she said.

In 2014, she saved 35 lives. " She has also been playing a crucial role in making our birth control campaign a success," said Balasore chief district medical officer ( CDMO) Dr Bhawani Shankar Pani.

Though Jamuna Mani, who was made a health worker in 2010, gets a meagre ` 1,000 as remuneration, it has failed to dampen her spirits. " Money is not the only thing important. The satisfaction of being able to help others is a huge reward," said the health worker who has become an example for others.

Jamuna Mani, who lives in a tribal hamlet in Odisha's Balasore district, uses a bicycle to rush to patients in distress

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Dec 2, 2015
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