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Darjeeling district hospital Doctors reach patients in remote villages, launch helpline

Darjeeling district hospital
A group of doctors from the Darjeeling district hospital have taken the initiative to reach out to patients in remote villages unable to come to Darjeeling town for check-ups and also launched a helpline to facilitate information about health issues.

The idea is to give something back to society given most doctors in the group are permanent residents of the Hills. Speaking about the initiative, Dawa Tshering Bhutia, an anesthetist and leading the group said, “We belong from the Hills and are also part of its society. We have responsibility, too. We (doctors) are always in the news for wrong reasons. This initiative is to change people’s perspective about us and also to give something back to society”.

Always receiving flak in-spite of their dedication, this group of specialist doctors has pledged to organize free medical camp in a pre-identified village on a Sunday each month. The doctors include physicians, surgeons, gynaecologists, dentists, ENT and orthopaedics. “All the doctors visiting the villages are specialists.

Besides, free check-ups, we are also distributing free essential medicines to patients which the doctors have themselves purchased,” said Bhutia, adding that for people having acute ailments they are screened on the spot and then referred to the district hospital for treatment.

The group has already visited six villages in Darjeeling and plans for the future are to cover areas extensively. “There is this notion about us that we have business tendencies. In-spite of this attitude, each time we visit a village and see people showing their gratitude our determination to reach out to more people is strengthened. We want nothing but the people’s appreciation and blessing in return,” said Bhutia.

In fact, the group today also launched the helpline “Hamro Medical Helpline- 9775439111” number that will provide people information about the availability of the doctors and OPD timings in the district hospital among the many. “The idea of the helpline is to provide all the information to people for their queries in regards to the district hospital. I personally receive hundreds of calls from people wanting information. Sadly I cannot receive all calls because of my schedule. So this idea came about to open a helpline number where people are provided all the information about the doctors and their availability and OPD timings of the district hospital,” said the anaesthetist.

Two persons with knowledge about health related issues have been appointed who will receive calls and provide information to the callers. People will be told which doctor to consult for their specific ailments and also the availability. “People mostly from villages have to travel far to meet us. This is costly and time consuming. Sometimes people have to return back without meeting the doctor as they are not aware about the availability. But, now all information will be provided through the helpline number,” said child specialist Neetu Sharma, one of the group members.

On working even on a Sunday meant for the family, Sharma said, “It gives us satisfaction that we are able to make people happy. Don’t mind missing one Sunday to give something back to the place which is not only our work-place but also our birth-place.” (EOIC)

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