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Sulagitti Narasamma: Recipient of Padma Shri

Sulagitti Narasamma (1920 – 25 December 2018) was an Indian midwife from Pavagada village, in Tumkur district of Karnataka state. She performed more than 15,000 traditional deliveries free of charge over a 70- year period of service in deprived regions of Karnataka with no medical facilities. Her work was honored with the National Citizen's award of India in 2012 and the country's fourth highest civilian award, the Padma Shri, in 2018. Biography Narasamma was born in Krishnapura, Pavagada village in Tumkur district to a nomadic culture. Her first language was Telugu. She did not attend school and grew up illiterate; she married her husband, Anjinappa, at the age of 12. She had 12 children, although four died when young, and 36 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She learnt her midwifery skills from her grandmother, Marigemma, a midwife who also helped to deliver five of Narasamma's own babies. In 1940, at the age of 20, Narasamma assisted at her first birth when she helped with the delivery of her aunt's baby. Narasamma had the opportunity to keep practice her midwifery skills whenever nomadic tribes arrived at her village. She also learned the art of preparing natural medicine for pregnant women and soon became competent in checking the health and position of the baby. She was also reportedly able to detect the pulse of the foetus while in the womb, without the use of any instruments. By 2018, and at the age of 97 years old, Narasamma had helped to deliver more than 15,000 babies, and has been described as 'the go-to midwife of Krishnapura'. Death Narasamma was admitted to the Siddaganga Hospital and Research Centre in November 2018 and was later referred to BGS Hospitals on November 29, 2018. She died at BGS Gleneagles Global Hospitals in Kengeri, Bengaluru, Karnataka, on 25 December 2018 at the age of 98 of chronic lung disease. On 25 December 2018, Narasamma's body was kept at Glass House in Tumakuru for the public to pay tributes. Several Ministers, former Ministers and thousands of people from different walks of life also paid their tributes to the departed soul. On 26 December 2018, Narasamma was laid to rest with full state honours at Gangasandra village on the outskirts of the Tumakuru city. Half acre of the one-acre plot was set aside for a memorial.


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