A Lullaby for our Boats
We are all familiar with ambulances: whirling lights, screaming sirens, speeding vehicles rushing on the roads to save lives. But not this one, it is off the road, no wheels, does not scream or whirl yet saves many lives. Come, visit the river ambulance called AKHA (Hope) on the Brahmaputra. Donated by Unicef to Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research, this river ambulance provides health service to many unreached habitations on the islands that dot the Brahmaputra.
We found it embanked off Aichung, a habitation some 50-60 Km upstream of Dibrugarh. It was very well equipped and had two attending doctors, a pharmacist, a GNM and two ANMs. It had a room which provided for privacy and the examination was done in a calm professional manner. The medical staff members were very diligent and sincere in discharging their responsibilities.
What was truly impressive is that even at 6 in the morning the doctors made the same efforts to provide quality services to those who visited the river ambulance as during normal working hours.
AKHA comes twice a month to Aichung and services many small and large island habitations in Dibrugarh district come what may; high waters, shallow channels, treacherous sand banks… Hats off to these dedicated river doctors and health personnel on the Brahmaputra!