From minimum to ideal: How West Sikkim district transformed its public health system
During the 73rd Independence Day address, Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay said, “If I had good resources and sound education as a child, I would have wanted to become a doctor.” This line spoke volumes of the importance of healthcare in the state.
Gone are the days where people from West Sikkim had to go to different districts for proper medical help. The district, located about 130 km from Gangtok, is revamping its medical situation with the help of the State Government, and in collaboration with the CSR unit of REC Foundation, NHPC Power Grid, and the “Aspirational District Program” of NITI Aayog.
The West Sikkim district often falls short in meeting the required tenants of healthcare, with the low availability of specialists, super-specialists, state-of-the-art medical equipment, infrastructure, and many more.
“Earlier, for a simple C-section surgery or a dialysis, patients were referred to hospitals and healthcare centres in Gangtok or Siliguri which used to be a major cause of concern,” said Karma R Bonpo, the district collector of West Sikkim. This aspirational district, under NITI Aayog, has progressed in terms of healthcare since June 2019 when the initial revamping actually started. “From then on, with the help of various stakeholders and under the guidance and leadership of CM Golay, we have been able to take some good strides in providing quality healthcare to the people of the district,” added Bonpo.
From setting up of COVID-19 care centres, COVID-19 testing labs, dialysis centres, blood banks, ICU beds in District Hospital Gyalshing- West District, state-of-the-art medical equipment in Primary Health Centres (PHCs), the district of West Sikkim has got a total makeover with the new interventions and initiatives.
“We now have access to medical specialists, super-specialists and recently Anesthetic specialist, heart specialist, gastro anthologist, pediatric surgeon as well. And this was all possible thanks to the notification posted by the CM,” said the DC of West Sikkim. The heart specialist, gastro anthologist, a pediatric surgeon, comes to the West Sikkim district on a fortnightly basis from STNM Hospital, Gangtok.
“Now we have the infrastructure, equipment, and specialists for conducting a minor surgery right in West Sikkim without having to leave the district,” said an elated Bonpo.dialysis machine