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Hospital to sail on Red River

Guwahati, Dec. 12: A floating hospital will set sail on the Brahmaputra next year, providing medical care to patients in the remote riverine areas of Assam.

Health and family welfare minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today told the Assembly that the floating hospital would be set up with financial assistance from the North Eastern Council (NEC). He said the vessel on which the hospital would be established is currently under construction.

“The floating hospital will be commissioned next year on a pilot basis and if the experiment succeeds, more such hospitals will be introduced in 2014,” Sarma said.

The ship will mainly provide health services for mother and child, which will include general surgery, gynaecology, paediatrics, ENT, and the like. To support these services, the ship will have an outpatient department, diagnostic facilities like portable X-ray and ultrasound machines, laboratory, operation theatre, recovery room and a pharmacy. The facility will also have two separate wards for male and female patients with five beds each, cabins for doctors, nurses and other staff, including crew members, recreation area, kitchen and dining area.

The minister said the ship would cater to patients from the riverine areas and chars referred by boat clinics and health centres. He said the hospital would be of great help to people living in the remote char areas, where there are no modes of transportation except boats.

The hull section or the bottom will house the OPD, with the hospital and the operation theatre and wards in the mid-section. The top floor will have cabins along with a conference hall, administration office and other facilities.

The ship being constructed by M/s P. Das and Company at Pandu port in Guwahati will be stationed at fixed points along the Phulbari-Fakirganj-Chunari route for a duration of two to four months.

The floating hospital will be run in association with the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research (C-NES), an NGO. Sarma said out of the total project cost of Rs 400 lakh, the NEC will provide Rs 360 lakh as grant while the state share will be Rs 40 lakh.

Sarma said currently five boat ambulances and 15 boat clinics are providing healthcare to the people in the char areas.


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