Changing tides of healthcare

The present government has attached top priority to the health sector of the state. Medical education has also received due impetus.

Arunachal Pradesh was established as the North-East Frontier Tract (NEFT) in 1951 by the British Indian Government with five tracts of frontier lands through agreements with the indigenous people of the Himalayan region of Northeastern India and renamed North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) in 1914. It is needless to mention that the Monpa kingdom of Monyul flourished in erstwhile Arunachal essentially between 500 BC and 600 AD. Later Tibeto-Burman groups like the Mishmis and the Chutias had ruled.
The prominence of this northeastern state in ancient and medieval India can be reiterated through historical records that clearly infer that Lord Krishna had eloped with Princess Rukmani while the 6th Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso was born in Tawang.
The health story:   On the other hand the centurion town of the state, Pasighat, founded in 1911 AD by the British Raj has been an early torchbearer of healthcare services. A small health unit was set up there in 1912 and in 1954 General Hospital was built which was eventually inaugurated in 1958 by a NEFA administrator Faizal Ali. The hospital was renamed as Bakin Pertin General Hospital on 19.12.16. Incidentally this was the state's first ISO-9001:2008 certified hospital. This hospital today has come a long way in terms of infrastructure and expertise. Dr D Raina who is the joint director of health services and in-charge of Bakin Pertin General Hospital informed that this hospital that had a modest beginning with three or four doctors and 10 to 15 nurses now boasts of a teeming number of allopathic and homeopathic doctors and specialists. Moreover, Pasighat has the North Eastern Institute of Folk Medicine, which is a national institute under the Ministry of AYUSH approved in 2008. The five original districts of Arunachal Pradesh have now risen to 25. Each district has a hospital. Moreover there are five zonal hospitals.
Pasighat has the North Eastern Institute of Folk Medicine, which is a national institute under the Ministry of AYUSH
There is a lot more to the healthcare legacy of the state. The General Hospital foundation stone at Naharlagun was laid by Assam Governor Satyawant Mallanna Shrinagesh (who held office during 14.10.1959 to 12.11.1960). The NEFA capital was shifted from Shillong to Naharlagun in 1974. The General Hospital was renamed as Arunachal State Hospital on 01.01. 2011 and after former chief minister Tomo Riba on 25.01.2016. This hospital was converted into the state's first medical college as Tomo Riba Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (TRIHMS). Dr Moji Jini, a nationally renowned surgeon who had been offered a foreign assignment and the post of director of health services had preferred to join TRIHMS as its director in 2017. He started the MBBS course in 2018 followed by Diplomate National Board (DNB) courses in gynaecology, pediatrics, radio diagnosis and anesthesiology. These courses are equivalent to a PG course and were envisaged to bring a turnaround in the state's health sector.
Representative image
Image: Representative image
TRIMHS with its army of 91 doctors including 53 specialists has made a yeoman difference during the COVID-19 pandemic by treating 273 patients (112 were admitted to ICU and 3 were put on ventilator). Moreover with this staff, it has been running a dedicated COVID hospital, Chimpu that has 42 beds (and 10 ICUs). While other hospitals have intermittently remained closed, Chimpu has been offering dialysis and new born care besides a fully functional operation theater, Dr Jini informed. While recapping all these facts it is obvious that the present government has attached top priority to the health sector of the state. Medical education has also received due impetus. Infrastructure development, procurement of advanced instruments and appointment of doctors and specialists have merited the deserved attention. When Alo Libang, a minister from the state's Department of Health &Family Welfare was asked about the doctors, Health Secretary Dr P Parthiban (who was by his side) informed, "There are 495 allopathic doctors, 143 homeopathic and ayurvedic doctors and 167 specialists (34 recruited recently). Health Service Director, Dr Moromor Lego said that the state has 594 regular nursing officers, 633 Auxiliary Nurse Midwives and 930 contractual nursing officers besides lab technicians. However, he assured that recruitments are on the anvil to meet the ever growing needs.



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