In Blockade-Hit Manipur, Medical Services Also Crippled

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Imphal: 34-year-old Shutho Nyuthe is a government school teacher who came from Nagaland’s capital Kohima to Manipur’s capital Imphal for a critical kidney transplant. After a successful operation, he has been discharged yet he is worried if he can make it back home.

“My kidney transplant has been successful but due to the economic blockade I had huge trouble to get medicines and now that I have to go back I am worried if it is safe, there are lot of protest happening,” Mr Nyuthe told NDTV at the Shija Hospital, Manipur’s most accomplished super specialty hospital.

The economic blockade that started on November 1 by the United Naga Council (UNC) and last week’s violent protest in Imphal valley by the dominant Meitei community against the blockade has left medical service in Manipur crippled.

At Shija Hosital, Imphal’s largest critical care hospital, oxygen supplies are down to a bare minimum, and the emergency stock of anesthesia and other life-saving drugs are fast running out and hospitals are also not getting fuels to keep their generators running.

“Looking at the situation, we had stocked emergency medicines but that stock is running out and we will have huge problem if this blockade continues,” Dr Khundongbam Palin, MD and Chairman, Shija Hospital said.

Hospitals in Imphal not only provide medical facilities to people of Manipur but hundreds of patients come here every day from neighbouring Nagaland and Southern Assam and even across the border from Myanmar. A few truckload with emergency medicines from Guwahati did reach Imphal last week but it took 30 days for a trip under police escort.

At a time when health services in Manipur are crippled, in Guwahati life-saving drugs meant to go to Imphal are lying in cold storages since the roads are blocked and even airlines are not taking them in cargo.

“Only one airlines to Imphal take cargo though there are two-three airline operating and they are not taking cargo because their X-rays machine is not working. So we cannot sent essential medicines to Imphal by flight,” revealed PC Sharma, President, Assam Pharmaceutical Association.

With stocks depleting fast and no end to the economic blockade in sight, hospitals in Imphal have started turning back ailing patients.

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