No Transport, Medicines For Critical Patients In Manipur’s Churachandpur
In Manipur’s violence-hit Churachandpur district, critical patients are in dire need of urgent transport to specialist hospitals. However, due to lack of supplies, facilities, and medical professionals, these patients are unable to receive the necessary intervention. This alarming situation was conveyed to NDTV by a top doctor in the district, who has been overseeing health emergencies.
Patients suffering from severe cardiac problems and conditions like brain hemorrhage require immediate intervention, which unfortunately is impossible to provide due to the absence of proper transport. The doctor, who chose to remain anonymous, highlighted the need to prioritize the revival of a helicopter service that was announced by Home Minister Amit Shah in early June but has not been restarted since its temporary operation.
Many patients belonging to the vulnerable Kuki-Zo tribes have lost their lives in Churachandpur as they were unable to be transported to hospitals in Guwahati, Assam, or Aizawl, Mizoram. The road blockades and the risk of violence make it almost impossible for them to undertake a journey to Imphal, Manipur’s capital, where well-equipped hospitals are situated. It is worth mentioning that an ambulance was set on fire in Imphal West’s Iroisemba in early May, resulting in the tragic deaths of an 8-year-old child, his mother, and a relative.
Attempting a drive to Aizawl, which is a 12-hour journey and sometimes takes even longer due to poor road conditions, is not a viable solution. The doctor highlighted the urgent need for the central government to restart the helicopter service, emphasizing that it is the only way to transport critical patients quickly to suitable hospitals, considering the challenges of road travel in the hilly region.
Churachandpur, with a population in the lakhs, suffers from a severe shortage of specialist medical professionals. The district urgently requires cardiologists, neurologists, and other such doctors to adequately address the large number of patients awaiting treatment. One possible solution, amid the volatile situation, could be to bring these doctors in a one- to two-week rotation to the district, as suggested by the doctor interviewed by NDTV. Diagnostic centers are also under immense strain as the testing equipment requires maintenance, and essential materials such as fluids and kits frequently run out.
Even if functional equipment is available, the absence of trained personnel to operate them further complicates the situation. Road blockades in the valley areas hinder the easy transport of essential supplies and medical resources to Churachandpur and other hill districts. The existing supply is insufficient, further exacerbating the problem.
While the immediate need is to ensure the immediate transport of critical patients, the doctor emphasized the importance of focusing on the creation of high-quality healthcare institutions in Churachandpur as a medium to long-term solution. This responsibility should not rest solely on the central government but should also involve private parties investing in the creation of healthcare infrastructure.
It is worth noting that Manipur recently restored mobile internet services after over four months. The district has witnessed ethnic clashes between the Kuki tribes and the valley-dwelling Meiteis, resulting in the loss of over 180 lives. These clashes stemmed from protests over the Meiteis’ demand for inclusion under the Scheduled Tribes (ST) category.
Addressing the healthcare crisis in Churachandpur requires immediate attention and intervention from both the government and private stakeholders. The restoration of the helicopter service and the provision of specialist doctors are crucial steps to save the lives of critical patients. Simultaneously, efforts should be made to improve long-term healthcare infrastructure in the district, ensuring that high-quality healthcare is accessible to all residents, regardless of their geographical location.