Has the Coronavirus relegated other viruses and diseases to triviality? Did the Government/administration think that non-COVID patients can survive anyway when they actuated District Civil Hospital, Tuensang, into a COVID-19 hospital? I cannot help but wonder what would have happened had there been no professional private clinics like Poly Clinic in Tuensang Town to meet people’s health emergencies.
Grace Hansen’s quote “Don’t be afraid that your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin.” has been Dr. Benjung Lam’s guiding maxim. And who is Dr. Lam? Well, he is the Director of Tuensang Town’s lone private infirmary and nursing home, Poly Clinic, which he along with P Chiye (Pharmacy Supervisor), established in 2013. Their aim and objective was, and continues to be, to “help and serve those in need”. And, indeed, over the years this Clinic has been serving the needy through free treatment to people above the age of 60, charging the poor minimal fees and even remitting their expenses.
Situated at the heart of the Town, Poly Clinic serves as a hospital and pharmacy easily accessible to the people of Tuensang. It can admit more than ten patients at a time ~ in separate wards for men and women, including cabins.
As the threat of the deadly virus spread like wildfire among the citizens, the Clinic has increasingly enhanced its service to treat patients conscientiously. Although there is a Primary Health Centre at Longpang Village, it is 26 kms away from Tuensang Town, which is a drawback for patients living in and around the town because of the distance and transportation issues. This makes the Poly Clinic the most convenient last resort for people seeking urgent medical attention.
When asked how the pandemic has impacted the functioning of the clinic, Dr. Lam stated that “duties and responsibilities have increased massively” but with his capable medical staff to aid him, “everything is manageable”. On an average there are about 20 patients visiting his chamber daily excluding other emergencies. Among others, according to Dr. Lam, “the most common diseases in Tuensang now are Typhoid, Scrub Typhus and Tuberculosis. Significantly, the Clinic has also been successful in undertaking complicated operations like ectopic pregnancies in recent days”, Dr, Lam said.
Today, Poly Clinic, Tuensang, is the only nearest private infirmary accessible to the people which is well equipped with 24/7 working CCTV cameras, X-Ray, Ultra Sound, ECG, fully equipped laboratory and Operation Theatre, and has expertise in Physiotherapy and Gynaecology.
The Clinic’s Nurses work full time on day and night shifts monitoring patients 24/7. Interestingly, while talking with the Nurses, they expressed disappointment that the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) card-holders have been complaining that all expenses are not being provided free of cost, further clarifying that health cards do not encompass all areas of medical expenses. They opined that people should be made aware of the utility and applicability of the card so that they do not condemn it with the “misa ase attitude”. They also request the general public to “refrain from stigmatizing medical and frontline workers” asserting that “amidst this chaos, compassion and awareness is the need of the hour.”
The outbreak of COVID-19 in Tuensang has shaken the confidence of the Town but through it all, the efforts and service the Poly Clinic has been rendering to the citizens of Tuensang is noteworthy and exemplary. Tuensang’s Poly Clinic truly stands on its maxim, “Serve the Needy”.