The ailing villagers, most children, had to switch their vehicle at 4 locations and endured an 8-km walk to cover just about 80 kms that separate their village from the district hqtrs .
As many as 25-more people whose conditions are said to much more severe and are too weak to take the 8-km walk to reach the nearest motorable locality are reportedly left waiting for treatment at the village.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Kim Simte said the local authorities along with the Health Department on receiving reports about mass illness striking Najang for the second time in a month have decided to evacuate the villagers.
The decision, however, was easier said than done as no vehicle owners are willing to risk the journey due to the dilapidated road condition.
After mobilising local resources, they learnt about the presence of a Shaktiman truck at Henglep sub-divisional and requisitioned its service.
Still, the villagers of Najang, which is located about 8 kms from Henglep, had to walk on foot to avail the transportation as Henglep is the farthest the truck could manage during monsoon.
The village chief Lunkhohau who himself is enduring a bout of fever said they decided to carry the ailing kids till Henglep along with adults whoever had the strength to join them.
Those who are too feeble to walk own were left behind.
‘We had no choice,’ he said adding there are about 25 ailing men and women in his village alone who need immediate medical attention.
The ailing villagers’ journey from Henglep was not with complications.
Their truck soon broke down.
Another Shaktiman was requisitioned but that too collapsed at Mualdak village at around 2 am today.
A team comprising mostly of SUVs, were gathered in the town by philanthropic organisations and the SDO, tried to reach them since day-break but they could make it only till S Kholen, about 3 kms short of the village where the second truck had broken-down .
A 4×4 Maruti Gypsy that was among the team that rushed today took turns to shift them in batches through the 3 km stretch and the ailing villagers finally arrived here at about 3 pm today .
A team of medical doctors headed by the CMO and the Medical Superintendent immediately attended to the villagers on their arrival.
The local MLA TT Haokip also turned up to monitor the responses and assess the situation.
The CMO while assuring all possible assistance to restore the health of the patients said blood samples will be collected tomorrow and sent to Imphal to diagnose the cause of the ailment.
As for the people who are still awaiting treatment at the village, TT Haokip said the only option at hand now is to evacuate them at the earliest.
Due to the inaccessibility of the area, blood samples that require a window period of about 9 hours to reach the laboratory for diagnosis is not viable as such the only workable response, sources said, is to shift the patients instead of trying to take a medical team and assortment of drugs and their gears to the hostile and inaccessible terrain .
SDO Henglep Chunglenmang along with local NGOs are reportedly working to evacuate the remaining patients while the local MLA and HAC Chairman TT Haokip said the Chief Minister has assured him that the Government will foot all the bills for treating the villagers.
Doctors attending the patients said they would not speculate on what may be the cause of the diseases until they have a laboratory confirmation.
A total of 41 patients has been admitted to the hospital today, out of which 25 of them are below 12 years.
According to Najang village chief, the disease turned from bad to worse days after the medical team’s visit in the first week of July.
As such all the medicine stocks that were given to them or were stocked up by individual traders in the area including Henglep hqtrs are now entirely exhausted.
Source: The Sangai Express