When 42-year-old Dr Jigmet Wangchuk, a medical officer with an experience of more than a decade of government service, was asked on 27 July 2020 to shift to PHC (primary health centre) Chushul. It is a very remote village situated at only a distance of 4 km from the Line of Actual Control (LAC). This village only receives very less amount of electricity and has only 2G connectivity.
Condition of people residing in these areas becomes worse when there is a conflict going on between Indian and Chinese forces. Most of his friends and family members saw it as a ‘punishment posting’. He was serving at the COVID-19 designated Mahabodhi Karuna Charitable Hospital near Leh before he was posted in Chushul. Also Read: A history of the relationship between pashmina and Ladakh
Dr Jigmet told The Better India that he was surprised to witness the attitude of these people. He was not depressed with the fact that he had his posting in a not-so-developed area. Dr Jigmet converted a once dilapidated PHC into a model health centre within months of his posting. He also took care of COVID-19 patients and assisted armed forces along the LAC. Also Read: In a first, Ladakh rolls out home stay policy to promote tourism
Dr Jigmet says that when he joined PHC, he found that the X-Ray machine had been out of order for the past two years. The centre was lacking basic medical equipment and was in serious need of plastering, whitewashing and painting as well.
He found that the National Health Mission (NHM) was funding PHC Chushul for an upgrade to a Health & Wellness Centre as per their Ayushman Bharat programme. He managed a mason and three labourers to start work. They had to go through problems like when workers were found to be infected with coronavirus but somehow they managed to complete their renovation work by the end of October which was started in mid-August. Also Read: AIR Kargil employee who kept the station running during the war
Dr Jigmet says that the chief medical officer (CMO) of Leh district, Dr. Motup Dorje played a pivotal role in providing the PHC with the funds which were required to obtain medical equipment like ICU beds, ventilators, oxygen concentrators, cardiac monitors, electronic ECG machines and extra oxygen cylinders for the PHC. Dr Dorjay also made sure that the PHC got sufficient quantities of PPE kits, RAT kits and VTM tubes.
Dr Jigmet says that the main goal of his life is to provide all possible facilities to poor people in these remote areas.