Skip to main content

Displaced Manipur people have to travel 150 km for moderate illness: Doctors for Peace

Counterview Desk 

A team of Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) comprising of Dr Arun Mitra, President, Dr Shakeel ur Rahman, General Secretary, Dr Ravindranath, Senior Vice President, Dr Shanthi, Secretary, Dr Rajani, Secretary, who visited relief camps in valley and hills of Manipur on 1st and 2nd September 2023 in Meitei and Kuki areas to assess the health conditions in the relief camps has asserted that the displaced people in the hills have to travel to distance of up to 150 km to get medical assistance for even moderately ill patients.
The team members had come from Punjab, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. The team visited the relief camps in Khumanlankpak sports hostel in Imphal district and IIT relief camps under Sapormeina PHC in Kangpokpi District in hill areas. There are 334 relief camps in Manipur now. The team of doctors met inmates and nodal officers of the relief camps, officials of health department, workers of civil society organisations and officers of district administration in order to prepare a report it released.

Key observations:

The referral systems for seriously ill patients in the relief camps in hilly areas are far from satisfactory. The displaced people in the hills of Manipur informed us that they had to travel to Nagaland covering a distance of up to 150 KMs to Kohima or Dimapur to get medical assistance in case of even moderately ill patients. Some of them even travel to Assam for their medical needs. Earlier, before the ethnic violence, they were referred to medical colleges in Imphal for better treatment. Now the movement of citizens from hills to valley and vice versa is impossible due to on-going ethnic conflict in Manipur.
Kangpokpi district hospital presently has neither an operation theatre nor blood storage facility. Manipur State is also facing acute shortage of specialists and other doctors and health workers. Vast majority of Specialist doctors and all the medical college hospitals of the state are located in Imphal district (3 medical colleges) and ChauraChandarpur district (1 medical college).
The team found that no special immunisation drives especially against measles has been undertaken in the visited relief camps. Measles vaccine immunisation drive in children above 9 months along with Vitamin A oral suspension is imperative for relief camps according to United Nations Humanitarian Commissioner for Relief (UNHCR) SPHERE standards.
The inmates and nodal officer of a relief camp in the valley said that no green leafy vegetables/ eggs/ meat/fish has ever been supplied in the ration of inmates by the government; although, local community, civil society organisations and few individuals provide few vegetables sometimes. Another nodal officer in a relief camp in hills told that they get one egg per inmate once every 13 days, but green vegetables are not supplied. Rice, Dal, Potatoes and cooking oil constitute the bulk of ration supply in the relief camps. The absence of green leafy vegetables and animal proteins in the diet of children for last four months may lead to night blindness which is caused by Vitamin A deficiency.
The visited relief camps are overcrowded, availability of potable drinking water and water for bathing/washing/in toilets are not sufficient in quantity. Sanitation needs to be improved by many folds. Supply of sanitary napkins to maintain good menstrual hygiene in relief camps is insufficient.
There has not been fogging for mosquito control in and around relief camps.
The inmates informed that they are facing lots of mental stress by staying in relief camps for the last four months and they are not sure when they will go back to their homes or will they ever go back to their homes? Few children are having nightmares. Children are missing their schools and friends adding to their worries. These are signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Inmates are facing lots of mental stress by staying in relief camps for the last four months
We found patients of non-communicable diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic kidney diseases etc. in the relief camps. A couple of patients required haemodialysis of the patients in the hills.
Based on these observations we have following suggestions to make to State and Central government:
  • Robust referral systems after triage from primary health centres to higher relief centres both within the Manipur State and neighbouring state should be put in place at the earliest.
  • Fabricated operation heatres should be made operational at district and sub district level with immediate effect. Blood storage units should be started around relief camps after cluster formation.
  • Internet services should be restored in all health facilities around relief camps so that tele-medicine services can be available to inmates of relief camps at the nearest health facility. These tele-medicine facilities can also be used in training of basic doctors in performing peritoneal dialysis (for renal failure patients), and other skills like use of ambu bags in case of respiratory distress syndrome among children, counselling of mothers for breastfeeding of new born children etc.
  • A strong medicine and vaccine supply system should be made functional and a real time monitoring of the stocks of medicine at ground zero level should be done.
  • Both central and state governments should implement the UNHCR SPHERE standards on meeting the health needs of the displaced people sheltered in relief camps.
  • Immunisation against measles and providing Vitamin A supplement to children should be undertaken immediately.
  •  Supply of good nutritious food like green leafy vegetables, milk, eggs, meat, fish should be ensured for all categories of the inmates in the camps.
  • Fogging for mosquito control should be done in and around relief camps should immediately be undertaken.
  • Psychological counselling of inmates with Post Trauma Stress Disorder should be regular feature at relief camps.



IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

Women innovators on simple, revolutionary alternate solutions for water problems

By Proshakha Maitra, Mansee Bal Bhargava* The detrimental effects of uncontrolled population rise and accelerated change in the global climate have posed tremendous pressure on the water and sanitation. This calls all stakeholders, from both developed and developing nations, to improve their resilience and to instigate sustainability. It is more crucial than ever to optimise the use of the resources we have on hand since the world population is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Alleged killing of another Bangladesh youth inside Indian territory: NHRC inquiry sought

By Kirity Roy* There was yet another incident of the killing of a Bangladeshi youth by the Border Security Force personnel attached with ‘Barthar’ BOP of ‘G’ Company of 75 BSF Battalion. In last five years several incidents of killings happened under this police station’s jurisdiction and the cases will get the award as “Not Guilty” as usual.

Modi model, Hindutva icon 'justified' alliance with Muslim League before Independence

By Shamsul Islam*  Our PM describes himself as ‘Hindu’ nationalist and member of RSS. He proudly shares the fact that he was groomed to be a political leader by one of the two fathers of the Hindutva politics, MS Golwalkar (the other being VD Savarkar) and given the task of establishing Hindutva polity in India after eradicating secularism.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Crusader for people’s causes, this Hollywood actor entered 'unexplored zones' in US

By Harsh Thakor*  Marlon Brando on April 3rd completes his birth centenary. He perished in 2004, on July 1, aged 80 years. Arguably in Hollywood Brando penetrated sensitivity and versatility at an unparalleled scale and discovered new horizons or explored path breaking zones in acting.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Insider plot to kill Deendayal Upadhyay? What RSS pracharak Balraj Madhok said

By Shamsul Islam*  Balraj Madhok's died on May 2, 2016 ending an era of old guards of Hindutva politics. A senior RSS pracharak till his death was paid handsome tributes by the RSS leaders including PM Modi, himself a senior pracharak, for being a "stalwart leader of Jan Sangh. Balraj Madhok ji's ideological commitment was strong and clarity of thought immense. He was selflessly devoted to the nation and society. I had the good fortune of interacting with Balraj Madhok ji on many occasions". The RSS also issued a formal condolence message signed by the Supremo Mohan Bhagwat on behalf of all swayamsevaks, referring to his contribution of commitment to nation and society. He was a leading RSS pracharak on whom his organization relied for initiating prominent Hindutva projects. But today nobody in the RSS-BJP top hierarchy remembers/talks about Madhok as he was an insider chronicler of the immense degeneration which was spreading as an epidemic in the high echelons of th

India 'neglecting' air, water, vegetation as its world air quality index ranking decelerates

By Dr Gurinder Kaur* The World Air Quality Report 2023 , prepared by a Swiss technology company IQAir, was released on 19 March 2024. According to this report, India is the third most polluted country in the world after Bangladesh and Pakistan, and the capital of India, New Delhi, is the most polluted capital in the world.