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J’khand: Health Worker Crosses River For Duty In Viral Pic, District IAS Says ‘Photo Op’

jharkhand health worker
A stirring photo of a Jharkhand health worker – crossing the river with her baby strapped to her back and vaccination equipment around one shoulder – has surfaced on social media.

In what seems to have both highlighted the determination and plight of frontline workers in the country, the visual of the woman wading waist-deep in water has struck a chord with netizens.

Manti Kumari is in her 20s and a contractual auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM) in Jharkhand, as per The New Indian Express. Tasked with inoculating children in remote Maoist-hit areas in the state, she travels approximately 40 kms per day through forests and other tough terrains.

In the viral photo carried by several online and local publications, she was reportedly crossing the Burra river to reach Latehar to vaccinate the children there, under the centre’s regular immunisation programme.

A medical officer at Chetma sub-district, where Kumari is posted, said the terrain was difficult, but “as she travels the entire distance along with her one-and-a-half-year-old daughter on the back regularly is really commendable.”

Controversy On Jharkhand Health Worker Crossing River: Is It A Photo Op?

After the hard-hitting photo of Kumari went viral, the IAS officer at the Latehar deputy commissioner’s office dubbed it a “photo op” and “not true at all.”

“It was a photo op that should be avoided by health workers… We do not approve of this kind of adventurism. It is an instance of sheer misadventure and this woman health worker should have avoided it,” Abu Imran told Times of IndiaHe added health officials said another route was available, which Kumari could have taken.

While reports claim Kumari is also working as a COVID-19 health worker in some areas, Imran has said she is “not on COVID-19 duty at all.”

Kumari in an interview with The Telegraph detailed her daily rigour. She lives in Mahuadanr with her baby daughter and unemployed husband, travelling long distances daily to earn a meagre income.

She has to walk through the river to reach only selective villages, like Tisiya and Sugabandh. “Most of the other villages can be reached by walking through the forests,” she says. Kumari added she waits for the stream to fall to waist-level before she crosses it, but that during monsoons, “there always are chances of getting carried away along with the stream.”

She takes her baby daughter along because she cannot leave her at home for the whole day, she says.

Image: The Telegraph