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Aalo hospital sans doctors

Fazl Ali general hospital in Aalo. Picture by Vinod Kumar Singh

Dhemaji: The Fazl Ali general hospital at Aalo in West Siang district in Arunachal Pradesh is handicapped by an acute shortage of specialists.

Medical superintendent of the general hospital in Aalo, Dr Linya Lollen, said the hospital is facing an acute shortage of specialist doctors, including peadiatrician, ENT doctors and pathologists.

"Even dermatologists and anaesthetists are not available on a regular basis. At present, there are only five doctors, whereas ideally a general hospital should have nine," he said. He said many good doctors have been transferred but not been replaced.

"The general hospital is not even fit to be a public health centre," another doctor said, requesting anonymity.

The deplorable condition of the hospital came to light after the death of a 25-year-old pregnant woman, Jumi Lollen Doji, on October 20 because of lack of facilities. The woman died on her way to a general hospital in Pasighat after developed complications while in labour. She had been admitted to the Aalo general hospital from where she was referred to Pasighat as the Aalo hospital did not have an anaesthetist.

Her husband Dagrik Doji, on being contacted, said that his wife was referred to the general hospital in Pasighat only at the eleventh hour.

"She could have been saved had the doctors acted responsibly. She was pale when she came out of the delivery room," he said.

Lollen said, "Because of the absence of an anaesthetist, complications arose during the second stage of labour and we were compelled to refer the patient to Pasighat with one of our staff but she died on the way."

The hospital caters to about 100 to 200 outpatients. While two of its ambulances are functioning, the others are off the road. Unavailability of medicine in the hospital is another major problem.

Patients complain doctors are there only to prescribe medicines, which the patients then have to buy from pharmacies outside the hospital.

Only the blood bank of the hospital is functioning, some of the patients said.

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