In service of the society: Retd. CMO initiates free health check-up for BPL families

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Many children are asked what they would like to be when they grow up, and many have their answers ready. Doctor! When asked why some say that they’d like to help the poor and needy. Needless to say, when one does end up achieving that dream, society always thanks them for it.

Dr Tsheten Namgyal Bhutia has done this and more. He has shoved the stereotypes of government doctors being lazy and stuck up for 30 years and has now begun free health check-up for Below Poverty Line families.

“For the last 30 years I have always worked hard, and rather than working to get promoted, to make money, or to get to a better post, I have worked to achieve goals and targets that the state and the areas I worked in needed to achieve. Since I have finished my Government duty as a CMO West Sikkim this year, I have decided to start “Free Health Check-Up Clinic” for the BPL Family at my Residence at Pelling, West Sikkim.”

He has worked as Medical Officer In-charge at Soreng PHC, West Sikkim (1989 to 2001), the Nodal Officer for Maternal & Child Health cum District Immunisation Officer, West District ( 2001 to 2018), and then the Chief Medical Officer, West District (August 2018 to January 2020). Even while he held these posts, he only worked for the betterment of health care in his work area.

His work cannot go unnoticed since he has been holding the reins of health care in West Sikkim District. When he was posted at Geyzing PHC as Nodal Officer for Maternal & Child Health cum District Immunisation Officer, he noticed that the indicators were not good for health care in his department, as there were more home deliveries than deliveries in the hospital, spitting the ratio is 64% home deliveries to 36% in medical facilities, there were 10-12 maternal deaths and the infant mortality rate as high as 42 per 1000, and the full immunisation for infants was just 41% in 2001.

Seeing all this Dr Tsheten started working on these goals, of improving Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), of ensuring more deliveries in the medical facilities, and more pro health care awareness in his district, when he completed his tenure there to become the CMO the full immunisation coverage was 90%, with that West Sikkim District became one of the 16 Districts in India to achieve full immunisation coverage.

This was an inspiring feat for both West Sikkim District, for Sikkim, and for Dr Tsheten to be selected among only 16 districts in all of India. For this, the West Sikkim District was awarded a certificate and a medal which then Chief Medical Officer, West Dr Tsheten Namgyal Bhutia and District Collector, West Shri. Karma R. Bonpo received on behalf of the District, for achieving 90% full immunisation coverage under Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) programme on the occasion of Pulse Polio Silver Jubilee a commemorative event held at Dr Ambedkar International Centre, New Delhi on 31st October 2019.

His unparalleled work in the health department and rural and urban health care, in general, has received many notable accolades. The maternal deaths dropped to 0 and home deliveries dropped to only 0.2% boosting the hospital deliveries to 99.8%, and the IMR has dropped from 42 to 16 per 1000 in the last three years of his tenure.

Dr Tsheten has gladly retired after improving the indicators, which were bad when he first joined and is now waiting for his pension file to get circulated soon enough so he can begin his new venture of public service.

“The Free Health Check-Up Clinic for BPL has already started the groundwork, the rooms are ready, the equipment is ready to be fitted and the clinic itself will be ready to function in less than a month, we only need a little financial push to do the fitting of equipment which I am working on,” shares Dr Tsheten.

He has become a beacon of hope to many after he has spread the word of setting up this clinic and he plans to inspire more by setting up free Health Camps in different remote areas of Sikkim, and is optimistic about recruiting more doctors from the state to help him with the cause of better health care in the state.

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