Sulagitti Narasamma is an Indian midwife from Krishnapura, Pavagada taluk, Tumkur district, Karnataka. She has been awarded with multiple honours for performing 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 has been honored with the National Citizen’s award of India in 2012 and the country’s fourth highest civilian award, the Padma Shri in 2018.
Narasamma was born in Krishnapura, Pavagada taluk in Tumkur district. Her mother tongue is Telugu. Narasamma belonged to a nomadic race and had no educational background. She married her husband, Anjinappa, at the age of 12. They eventually had 12 children, although four of their sons died when young. She has 22 grandchildren.
‘Sulagitti’ in Kannada means ‘delivery work’. In 1940, and at the age of 20, Narasamma assisted at her first birth when she helped with the delivery of her aunt’s baby. She learnt her midwifery skills from her grandmother, Marigemma, a midwife who also helped to deliver five of Narasamma’s own babies.
Narasamma had the opportunity to 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.
By 2018, and at the age of 97 years old, Narasamma had helped to deliver more than 15,000 babies during her years, and has been described as ‘the go-to midwife of Krishnapura’.
For her achievement, Narasamma has been conferred with the following awards and citations:
2012: Karnataka state government’s D Devaraj Urs award
2013: Kitturu Rani Chennamma award
2013: Karnataka Rajyotsava award
2013: National Citizen’s award of India
2014: Honorary doctorate received from Tumkur University
2018: Country’s fourth highest award for civilians, the Padma Shri
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