Healthy News From Chandel

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The District Hospital of Chandel on March 31 inaugurated its operation theatre. What could be more appropriate to mark the day with a successful cesarean delivery of a baby performed at the hospital on the same day? The team of doctors and their staff deserve due commendation for the feat. It has been reported that the operation theatre was lying dysfunctional for twenty years. The theatre was renovated with NHRM funds. A cesarean surgery is not a medical marvel in today’s world. There are other surgeries which are more complicated than a cesarean surgery. But what really drew our attention are the place and the institution where the operation was successfully conducted. The operation was conducted at one of the government hospitals located at a hill district. Chandel district is not very far from Imphal. One can reach the district head quarter on a two wheeler in almost two hours’ time. With the roads well blacktopped on the stretch of Asian Highway No. 1, without a hitch Pallel could be reached. Horrible road condition welcomes you right from Pallel Lamkhai. The distance between Pallel and Chandel district head quarter is in a way, a negligible distance. But the time one takes to reach Chandel from Pallel is almost the same with that from Imphal to Pallel. This is not an overstatement. We just want to point out the precarious state of the road which is same for most of the hill districts. The inter village roads are beyond imagination and even worst during the rainy seasons. Second World War vintage truck Shaktiman is still being used as an important means of transportation in most of the interior of hill districts. Some villages are so isolated that people have to walk miles. These are place where even Shaktiman or modern day utility vehicle cannot reach. Well, how does one imagine the state of health care facilities in such areas? The first road block to accessibility of health care is the precarious state of roads. Dysfunctional district health centers on top of that would force people to swarm referral centers like the RIMS and JN hospitals. These centers are at present attending patients beyond its normal volume. One can see the sheer rush of patients from most parts of the state. The primary reason is because of the dysfunctional district health centers. Community Health Centers, the Primary Health Centers and the District Health Centers which are supposed to provide medical attention to the immediate need of the people; with these centers running on pretense, patients with no other options go directly to the referral centers. Doctors and staff of these centers are not able to pay adequate attention to the patients because of the overwhelming volume. It is important to note why these two hospitals are called as referral centers. Referral centers are mean to attend patients who need the attention of doctors who are specialised in a particular area. For instance, a patient suffering from common cold or scabies need not come to referral centers. Doctors available in the CHC, PHC or the District Health Centers can attend to them easily. But this is only possible when doctors and staff are present at these centers. The availability of basic infrastructures like basic diagnostics facilities and medicines are a must. Medical equipment which is lying rusted in peripheral centers speaks louder than our words in this column. Medical practitioners lobbying at the administrative corridors seeking posting at their desired places is also a binding factor that requires attention for an all-encompassing perspective to the problem of inaccessibility in basic health care. If not for best, we take the successful delivery of a baby in Chandel District Hospital as a hope for a new beginning. Other districts should follow the example. Let’s hope that it does not end as a gimmick or media stunt like most good things in Manipur.  

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