Major Hardshift at Dunong village

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Villager carrying a pregnant woman in bambon stretcher to Tamei PHC

Due to lack of proper Roads connectivity, the villager have to carry a pregnant woman to the nearest hospital (Tamei) by foot. They carry the patient made up of bamboo stretcher and travel more than 50 km to reach the nearest hospital for treatment at Tamei Primary Health Centre.

An all-weather road is a dream for villagers residing in far-flung areas of Manipur’s hill district, Tamenglong. In the absence of proper road connectivity, around 30 villages under Tamei subdivision in the district continue to suffer and have lost many lives in the rough terrain. Often, these villagers, braving inclement weather, have to travel non-motorable roads for hours, if not a day, on foot to reach the nearest Public Health Centre (PHC) at the sub-divisional headquarter. In the most recent case of threadbare infrastructure in the hills, villagers walked eight hours carrying an expectant woman in a bamboo stretcher to the nearest PHC as there is no motorable road link to the village.

It was on August 10, the woman was carried on a makeshift bamboo stretcher by family members with the help of around 40 village youths over 50 km for the delivery of her child in the hands of medical experts. After about eight hours of walking, they reached Takou from where she was picked up and taken to the PHC at Tamei in a vehicle.

One of the relative said that on noting the deteriorating condition of the expectant mother, the family and villagers set up the bamboo stretcher to take her to the nearest PHC at Tamei, about 50 km from Dutnong village. They started the journey around 8 am and reached Takou around 4 pm, from where she was picked up by a vehicle and taken to the PHC. Siwang delivered a baby boy on August 11 around 8 am. Both baby and mother are doing well.

Such cases is common as there is no motorable road linking the village and no ambulances can reach the village till today. There are at least 30 such where the villagers used makeshift bamboo stretchers as ambulances for medical emergencies are unable to reach the area since there is no motorable road.

Owing to the poor road connectivity, vehicular movement in the area is seasonal. Landslides and floods caused by incessant rains often block the existing roads. The family was fortunate that no untoward incident happened during the perilous journey, he said.

Dr Adani Ariicho, MO PHC Tamei

Dr Adani Ariicho, MO PHC Tamei, told that he feels sorry for the villagers as they have to carry patients or walk many hours to reach the PHC to avail medical treatments. Poor road connectivity is the main challenge for the villagers as well as the medical team, he said.

He said that the unborn child and the mother would have died if the relatives and villagers failed to bring the expectant mother to the PHC Tamei on time. It was really a difficult delivery for their team.

Dr Adani said there were complications and risk involved in saving the lives of the mother and child both. But the fear of COVID-19 stopped the family from taking the woman to Imphal.

He said despite the PHC Tamei being poorly connected, as many as 40 deliveries have been done in 2020 alone and most ailments, including scrub typhus, typhoid and hypertension are treated at the PHC without referring to other hospitals. Unfortunately, not everyone survive such a tough and risky journey.

On August 6, 20-year-old Kanpatliu Kamei from Puichi village under Noney district, who was expecting a child, died along with her unborn child after she was allegedly refused admission by five hospitals in Imphal, capital of Manipur.

According to family sources, Kanpatliu, who was then at her maternal home in Senapati was initially brought to the Senapati district hospital. She was later referred to Imphal following a complication. She was taken from one hospital to the other as the hospitals denied admission to her. After being denied medical attention by five hospitals, she succumbed at the entrance of the casualty department of a top private hospital without getting any medical attention. The Manipur government has ordered an inquiry into the incident.

The incident is the tell-tale signs of how remote villages in hill districts of Manipur till today are struggling without basic amenities such as road connectivity, proper healthcare facilities or basic amenities among others.