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Not allowing patients through Meghalaya; Hailakandi DC Keerthi Jalli e-meets East Janita Hills DC

Following reports of critically ill patients from Barak Valley facing extreme difficulties in crossing over the Meghalaya side due to inter-state lockdown, Deputy Commissioner of Hailakandi took up the matter with East Jaintia Hills district counterpart to remove the barriers for timely treatment of patients.

Deputy Commissioner, Hailakandi, Keerthi Jalli on Thursday mailed a letter to Deputy Commissioner, East Jaintia Hills District, Federick M.Dopth, Khliehriat, requested for removal of the hurdles so that serious patients from Hailakandi and the Barak Valley referred to Guwahati could get timely medical care and treatment.

Jalli took up the matter with Dopth in view of reports that several critically ill patients from Hailakandi and Barak Valley of southern Assam couldn’t pass through the Malidhar checkpoint at Ratacherra along the Assam-Meghalaya inter-state border and had to return back leading to worsening of their health condition and even resulting in the loss of life of a heart patient.

Jalli also pointed out that vehicles with passes from the respective district administrations were not allowed passage nor even ambulances despite guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs. “As you may appreciate the fact that patients from Barak Valley seeking critical care for heart and kidney ailments often have to travel to Guwahati crossing Meghalaya area through Ratacherra. Such barriers would result in loss of precious time and cause inconvenience to patients and family,” Jalli said in the letter.

Requesting for passage of vehicles with passes and ambulances through Meghalaya during lockdown period, Jalli said, “Request your kind cooperation in this matter to ensure smooth travel through both sides of Assam and Meghalaya for better-coordinated efforts in enforcing the lockdown.”

Dopth, in his reply, on Saturday informed his counterpart that necessary instructions have been issued to the Ratacherra check point bordering Assam, to expedite smooth travel of critical care patients enroute to Guwahati.

He informed that as per protocol, for transfer of non-COVID-19 critically ill patients through Meghalaya received from NEIGRIHMS, Shillong and advisories from Health and Family Welfare department in view of the inter-state lockdown, his administration is allowing patients seeking critical care for heart and kidney ailments enroute to Guwahati on production of medical referral certificate issued by the authorised medical officer after due screening of the driver and attendant.

Dopth, while assuring his counterpart Jalli of his full cooperation on the ‘matter of life and death’, made a plea to her for issuing advisories from her end to all concerned to keep the papers handy and to ensure that ‘only one attendant and one medical staff to accompany the patient to avoid delay in clearance at the check point’.

The East Jaintia Hills District Deputy Commissioner, in his letter, cited instances of more than one attendant besides the medical expert and driver accompanying the patient causing delay. “Instances have been reported that more than one attendant besides the medical expert and driver used to accompany the patient. However, on denial entry to the extra attendants, unwanted scenes occurred wherein such attendants wanted to force themselves to pass through, hence the delay,” he added.

The people of Hailakandi and other parts of Barak Valley expressed their gratitude to Deputy Commissioner, Jalli for her personal intervention in clearing the hurdles in the way of shifting serious patients through Meghalaya enroute to Guwahati for availing timely medical care and treatment.

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