An 'air dispensary' with specialists from premiere hospitals will soon be deployed to serve people in remote areas of the North-East.
The Choppers, functioning as dispensaries, will be initially based in Imphal (Manipur) and Shillong (Meghalaya) where premiere postgraduate medical institutes are located.
It will be used to move specialist doctors, along with necessary equipment and paramedical staff to remote areas of the eight states in the region to hold health camps and also to airlift sick people to hospitals on their return.
Twin-engine helicopters are planned for the initial operation on six routes- around Imphal, Guwahati and Dibrugarh- in the region
The Ministry of Development of North-Eastern Region's (DoNER) proposal has been accepted and is in the final stages of the process in the Ministry of Civil Aviation. The DoNER, which had put Rs 25 crore as an initial fund for the proposal, expects the choppers on air by early next year.
DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh, who held meetings with the representatives of aviation sector and Pawan Hans, a helicopter service company based in New Delhi, on Sunday, said his ministry had been exploring the idea of introducing a chopper-based dispensary service in far-flung areas where no doctor is available and patient don't have access to medical care.
Singh, a doctor, said nearly one-third of India's population still does not have access to proper hospital bed care. As a result, poor patients living in remote areas remain deprived of crucial medical attention.
He felt that this experiment could also be emulated in other hill states with difficult topography like Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.