Why Multiple Doctor Visits are Unavoidable for Pushpa and her Family
It has been 19 years since Pushpa Kumari has been living in Maheshi, Bihar and has been playing various roles of housewife, mother, daughter-in-law and Jeevika. Thirty one-year-old Pushpa Kumari spends her day doing household chores along with looking after her four kids. She also takes up stitching work and stitches clothes for herself and her children along with some other household requirements like making curtains etc. As a part of a joint family, she takes care of her in-laws and the family of her brother-in-law as well. Outside the home, she is a Jeevika and works towards helping other women of her village, through collaborating with self-help groups.
For Pushpa, water thus becomes the issue of utmost concern. Even though she has a hand pump in her house, she is not satisfied with the water quality. According to her, water often leaves a reddish residue and smells like rusted iron. Moreover, if the water is left overnight then it turns yellowish-red and algae also grow on it which makes it completely unusable. Even though she claims they try not to waste this water by utilizing it in other household chores, her family has to face various problems owing to the bad quality of the water.
“This water makes us sick very often. We often face stomach-related issues like gastric issues, stomach aches, and feeling heavy in the stomach. The children don’t feel hungry most of the time because of which their appetite reduces.” She complains. She also explains how they feel nausea sometimes and suffer from indigestion. The water affects the family’s immunity too as she talks about facing breathing issues as well. Due to these recurring health problems, Pushpa and her family often pay multiple visits to the doctor which costs a lot of money.
Pushpa also talks about how the unavailability of clean water is a big issue in the entire village. “Families who are financially weak can’t even afford to own a hand pump and so they depend on their neighbour’s hand pump which is not a good solution as over a period of time they also get fed up.” She said as she expresses her concern for the overall state of the village.
“Something should be done for our village so that people don’t face problems in accessing water. Actions should be taken to improve the quality of water as water is everything in one's life. If we don’t have proper clean drinking water then it becomes difficult for us to grow as a society. Some sort of filter or a big plant should be set up so that clean water can be available to all the houses.” She suggests.
The problem is so big that some people have moved towards installing RO filters but unfortunately, that solution is not affordable for most families and they are forced to consume unclean water.
Pushpa Kumari and her village members hope for a brighter future wherein all families can access proper and clean water supply. She hopes that clean water will increase productivity in her voice and improve the quality of her life. She would also be able to use the current doctor’s fee towards opening a small grocery store which could help her provide a better upbringing for her kids.
Pushpa Kumari wishes that access to clean water would protect her children and that the next generations would never have to face these serious problems in their lifetimes.