It’s good news for Cardiac patients of North East; Stents soon to become part of Govt approved health care kit


SHILLONG: The idea of providing better health care services in the northeast and bringing an institution that is akin to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) would remain only a concept if there is no one to hold the Institution and its management accountable and ensures that health care facilities are made accessible and affordable to the patients especially the poorer sections of society.

No doubt, the Centre and State Government has introduced many health related schemes with the aim of making health care services available to people from every corner of the country and the state. But it appears that these schemes are slowly turning into breeding grounds for corrupt officials to take advantage of the poor and illiterate lots.

Recently, renowned columnist, Patricia Mukhim, who is also the Editor of The Shillong Times wrote in her article in The Telegragh that corruption in medical institutions is the bane of healthcare in this country.

Taking a dig into the health care services provided by state-of-the-art cardiac care department of NEIGRIHMS, Mukhim observed "One often wonders how heart-related cases have suddenly risen in our own state of Meghalaya and in the region," further adding that in a small city, doctors and citizens develop a certain kind of familiarity after which it becomes difficult to critique the doctor and to draw the line between professional service and a social relationship.

Responding to this Dr Animesh Mishra, Head, Cardiology Department, NEIGRIHMS, explained that in the state and region there were no proper records or data to determine the rate of heart related diseases in Meghalaya and NE, and added that the reports compiled then showed that only 3 to 6 percent of the population have heart problems.

"The absence of a super specialty medical institute in those times is the reason behind the minimal rate because patients would consider availing medical treatment outside the state or the region. The numbers are low because there were no referrals," Dr Mishra said further adding that when the Cardiology Department was established in the Institute it was found that heart disease was more rampant than imagined.

However, despite the number of patients seen lining up in long queues every alternate day at NEIGRIHMS, one thing is clear that out of the total number of patients, only 10 percent require sophisticated treatment and the percentage is less than the national average, Dr Mishra clarified.

"It's not a question of sudden rise in the number of heart patients, but it is the changing lifestyles of the people that we have to consider as this disease is a modern lifestyle disease," Dr Mishra said.

Allaying fears and doubts from the minds of patients, the head of the Cardio ward in NEIGRIHMS said, "The sophisticated equipments that we have are one of the best in the country and it's a fact that we have been keeping a record of all our patients right from the first patient, so we are always open to enquiry."

Accepting that one or two wrong judgments might have been given to the patients, Dr Mishra said "In a span of 9 years, error is unavoidable but we make up for the errors committed and we consider other alternatives."

Maintaining that Cardio ward is a referral department, Dr Mishra said, "Considering the number of referral patients that NEIGRIHMS gets from different hospitals  we are at par with other departments and the ratio is more or less the same."

Further, he informed that the National List of Essential Medicines in India (NLEM) had recently accepted stent (cardio related device) as an essential drug and this has already been adopted by the Government of India. "It's just a matter of time before the procedure is through at the higher levels and we will be able to provide affordable medicines," he added.

This perhaps could be good news for the people of Northeast especially those living with heart related problems, but what remains to be seen is how long  this process at the top levels will take before people can finally stop worrying about shelling our Rs 2.50 or 3 lakhs on cardio care and related medicines.

(TNT desk)