The only sub-divisional referral hospital with the highest number of specialised doctors for mother and child care in the Garo Hills, located on the national highway in Jengjal, 30 km from Tura is having to take in patients brought on stretchers trudging through knee-deep mud and slush because the only road connecting to the health centre has not been cemented nor blacktopped even after five months have passed.
On Monday, villagers unable to navigate their small vehicles through the muddy road were left with no option but to carry a sick woman on a stretcher for around 700 meters to seek medical treatment.
The hospital happens to be the pet project of Health Minister James Pangsang K Sangma who had invited renowned Christian Medical College, Vellore doctors from the Seventh Day Adventist to run the new hospital on a public-private partnership (PPP) mode.
It is the only hospital with as many as three Pediatrics or child specialists and a gynecologist besides other MBBS doctors.
Hailed by many in Garo Hills for providing quality treatment at the cheapest of costs, there has yet been no attempt from the state PWD or the medical department’s construction wing to see the construction and completion of the road from the highway to the hospital.
“This road was cleared by earth movers just in time for the inauguration of the new hospital on December 16 of last year. Since then, nothing has been done and now with the arrival of the monsoon rains, no construction can take place. Ultimately the patients are suffering,” lamented a local stall owner next to the hospital who has been witnessing the difficult scenes of movement through a road that looks more like an inundated paddy field.
It is also worth mentioning that the hospital came up after a delay of close to two long years because of opposition from a small group of locals led by a retired politician from the area who tried to stall its establishment citing one reason after another.