| People travel on a boat in Majuli |
Jorhat, July 20: The health department has planned to set up a primary health centre on two boats, which will be moored along a sandbar on the Brahmaputra in Majuli.
The two boats will house a mini operation theatre, a labour room, a laboratory and accommodation for doctors and paramedical staff. The facility will serve people of four saporis (sandbars).
The joint director of health department (Jorhat district), Sarat Das, told The Telegraph today that in view of the difficulty to offer medical services at Dakhin Ahotguri in Majuli (in the western tip of the island), especially in the saporis, the department had decided to set up the PHC on boats anchored in the area.
Das said the saporis in the area remain almost cut off during the rainy season from Majuli and also the mainland. Moreover, the distance from the saporis to the island and the mainland (Dergaon in Golaghat district) is quite far.
He said a survey by the health department found that about 10,000 people in Hikali, Ker Ker, Dhudang and Hadhu saporis could not avail medical services offered by the government because of inaccessibility of the area.
“People in saporis of the Ahotguri area can get the boat clinic service only two days in month as the boat has to travel a long distance to cover many remote areas of the island along with 18 saporis around Majuli,” Das said.
He said the most difficult situation for the people was during childbirth with most of the deliveries happening in homes without proper medical supervision, as people cannot bring expecting mothers to the hospital or a PHC.
The joint director said there was a demand by the sapori residents to open a PHC in the area as people have to go to Lakhimpur district or Gohpur in Sonitpur district on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra as there was no proper road connectivity in Majuli to reach the nearest PHC from the Dakhin Ahotguri area.
He said a proposal to set up the PHC has been submitted by the department through the Jorhat district administration recently to Dispur.
The joint director said based on the proposal, the PHC would be established by joining two boats, which would be stationed permanently at the Hikali, because the area was centrally located from the adjoining saporis.
Das said the decision to set up the PHC on boats was to make it functional during floods. Moreover, the availability of land was less in the saporis to construct a building because of constant erosion.
Two doctors, around five paramedical staff, technicians for the pathological laboratory (where radiology tests too can be done) and a mini operation theatre to deal with emergencies and accommodation for the doctors and staff will be available.
He said solar energy battery units to provide electricity would be installed in the PHC.
According to the plan, a few service boats to bring and return patients from the nearby saporis will be run daily.