Palakkad: Taking serious note of frequent deaths of new-born babies in Kerala's tribal heartland Attappady, Union Minister of State for Labour Kodikunnil Suresh Tuesday called for a judicial probe to ascertain reasons and fix responsibility for the recurrence of infant mortality in the area.
After visiting tribal hamlets and settlements, Suresh also suggested issuance of a white paper on how huge amounts spent over the years for the health care of tribal communities in the area had been wasted without serving the due purposes.
According to official figures, as many as 28 tribal children had died in the last six months alone due to various health problems including malnutrition, poor health of mothers and failure to provide prompt pre and post maternity medical aid.
"The situation is serious. It called for a judicial probe to find out how this is happening," Suresh told reporters after visiting tribal hamlets of Nelliyampathy and Katambara.
"Similarly, a white paper should be issued on the money spent so far on tribal health care without serving the purpose it meant for," he said.
Suresh said he would apprise Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi about the situation to muster necessary central intervention and support in tackling the situation.
He also visited Tribal Hospital at Kottathara and held discussions with District Medical Officer and tribal welfare officials.
Meanwhile, a four-member fact-finding team of UN agency UNICEF also arrived here to take stock of the situation by touring the tribal hamlets.
They would be gathering all details such as the health of tribal mothers and babies and whether there had been failure in delivery of healthcare, based on which a report would be drawn up, a health department official said.
Meanwhile, one more tribal child died today at Puthoorroad due to anaemia.