Pain Killer Tablets in a Paan Shop

 Before 25th July, 2010, no medical doctor had set foot in Zanger village of Pungro Block, Kiphire district, Nagaland. The village is however fortunate to have a Health Sub Centre, a government school, connected by motorable road (since the last 3 years) and electricity.  In the region, it wasn't lagging behind when measured by these developmental parameters. Zanger is a small Yimchunger village which is about 45 minutes drive (could have been much less if the road conditions were better) from Pungro town. On 25th July, 2010, medical team from Pungro Community Health Centre and NMM staff Mr. Tangit Longkumer visited the village.

The villagers said the road was fine. But there was a landslide the night before. We weren't carrying spades, which every vehicle should be carrying in this region in summer. We used sticks to clear the road. The gun? It's sad people don't realize the importance of wild life preservation.

While the guys worked on the road, the two nurses posed as country singers. It was Sunday and were off work, but they volunteered to come along.
Today we are here...Tomorrow where shall we be?
The missionary friend proved to be a daredevil once again. We all got down as he drove through this patch....

Many Nagas do not know Zanger village. There aren't big government officers nor highly qualified intellectuals from this village. Those who can afford to go out have settled in Kiphire or Pungro town. In fact, it is saddening that even village leaders holding important posts do not actually stay in the village.The Village Health Committee Chairman, for God's sake, came to the village in our vehicle!!
The village church bell, one of my favorite pictures

Inside the Church...In Pungro area, there are only two Church buildings built with Concrete. Moya and Pungro village (2011)

Spicing up the Health Talk with a song. The best day to visit the villages around the region is Sunday. On week days, they can't afford to lose a day's work for a 'program'
The SubCentre doesn't even have a nurse. The Pharmacist also has been transferred recently.
My good friend, Dr. Imkong Sangtam (AYUSH) getting ready for the health camp after the Church service.
And as I posed.................

 energetic missionary friend made the arrangements

The energy-draining-but-enjoyable Health Camp in full swing
On our way back.... Despite our effort, it was also just a 'Hit and Run' situation. That is what medical camp approach is like. How do we provide health care that is accessible, affordable and available whenever the people need????????????
Something to cheer while reflecting soberly on this health care dilemma...This gate is no ordinary gate. If you pass through and don't close it behind you, you'll be fined Rs. 5000. It serves to separate Mithuns belonging to one village from escaping into another....
Back to Pungro. On a clear evening as this, you can see Mt. Saramati (flagged) from the MO quarter, Pungro CHC.

Now, what has 'Pain Killer Tablets in a Paan Shop' got to do with this trip? I didn't have the opportunity to capture it in Camera, but in Zanger village, there is a Paan shop where Diclofenac tablets are sold. What has this got to say about suffering and health care services? Official reports and studies do not capture these types of realities. And what if such a thing is reported? The interpretations may run as 'Irrational Drugs Use', 'Ignorance of the people', etc. Many people think that the poor people are ignorant and do not care about their health. But the reality is; in the absence of medical services people are doing all sorts of measures to relieve their sufferings. A Sub Centre is entitled to have a nurse, basic medicines, etc. What villages like Zanger need is not our pity; they need justice.


  1. Wow Sao u r gr8.

  2. Sao, I like what you are doing back home. Keep persevering and believing. Btw when's the wedding happening? ;-) keep me in the loop.


  3. Thank you Huthuka...Used to read your blog posts; do you still blog? The bells are not ringing anytime soon. I'll let you know faaaaar in advance. And when's yours?

  4. wonderfully written. and probably only piece of documentation available online. Is July a good month to visit Kiphire?


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