Health is wealth is what I learned since my child hood days. From the 18th of October to 13th of November 2010 I was in the agency called Zoram Entu Pawl situated at Aizawl. It will take lots of time and space if I were to narrate my whole month’s experience. So I will share one incident which shook me and makes me to reflect why?
During the last week of my stay there in Aizawl I was sent to one district called Hnahthial. It’s quite far away from the capital city of Aizawl. I was assigned under the Community Health Mobilization project, to do a field based study on St. Charles Health centre and the adjoining villages under the project.
It was on the 9th of November, 2010 that I joined the district in charge of health and the community health worker to conduct awareness programme on Malaria and Tuberculosis, besides assisting at a mobile medical clinic. The awareness programme went on well and then came the mobile clinic. On seeing the district health in charge many came flocking to get medical check up and get some medicine for themselves with the hope of getting it free. Many registered their names to do the check up but unfortunately when the check up began the number was reduced to less than the half that was registered. Many left feeling disappointed and sad as they could hardly get those kind of chances and the only time they got it they were unable to avail the service.
The villagers could not avail the service as they were very poor and had no money to pay for the medicine that the health in-charge had brought. The health in-charge on the other hand could not deliver the medicine free of cost as she too bought it from the market at her own cost and made it reachable to the people at her expenses. The sight of the villagers leaving the mobile clinic without check up and without medicine due to lack of money pricked my conscience.
Prior to this mobile clinic I went along with one of the agencies in Dimapur town. The clinic was in the town area where medical facilities are available and people also have the capacity atleast to buy the basic essential medicines. But there the medicine were provided to the people at free of cost. And coming back to Liete village in Hnahthial in Mizoram, the villagers had no access to any kind of health facilities because of lack of money. But they do not have much chance to hold money as they are in the interior village where transactions of money is very rare.
Through this clinic I learned that health to all by the mere effort of the NGOs especially in the rural areas will never be fully met. It must network with the Government to bring health care to the villages considering the areas and the prevalent illnesses. The people in the in the interior villages are dying from small ailments which could be easily healed with timely intervention. We may boast of many things like development, progress, prosperity; but if the people are not in good health to enjoy all these it is of no use. The wealth of the nation depends on the health of the people. (JRK John)