TODAY -
Border villages: Election just a ritual
Source: The Sangai Express

Yangoulen (Indo-Myanmar border), April 01 2009: Regardless of new Government formations at the Centre and the State from time to time, electors living in the Indo-Myanmar border areas of Churachandpur, Ukhrul and Chandel districts of Manipur continue to live with no hope of any change in their living condition even as outbreak of Malaria remains the main scourge every year.

During a tour of these border areas, The Sangai Express learnt that the living condition of the people continues to remain the same down the years even if they have been judiciously exercising their franchise in electing their representatives in every elections.

Among the numerous problems being faced, outbreak of Malaria annually has been the main scourge of the people living in the border areas which is compounded further by the absence of any proper health care facilities.



Two kids carrying logs to meet the family's need at Yangoulen


According to Thangkhulun Haokip, the village chief of Yangoulen, in Chandel district, at least two to three people die from Malaria every year.

As a result of frequent gun fights between the security forces and armed UG cadres, the people of this village located along the Indo-Myanmar border of Chandel district had earlier fled to safer places and could return to their homes and hearth only the situation had subsided.

Moreover the benefits of pulse polio immunisation programme for children being taken up by the Government has not reached this border village and BCG or DPT vaccination is something alien to the villagers.

As the required BCG and DPT vaccinations were not given to the children in time, cases of TB among the villages including young children and elderly persons are very high in Yangoulen village.

The case of TB is also very high among the people of border areas of Behring in Churachandpur district.

Vice chief of Molcham village Lungkhungam Haokip informed that as there is no health centre in his village, the villagers, in case they suffer from TB normally go to Khampat of Myanmar which is located at a distance of 10 kms from the village for treatment.

The medicines prescribed by the doctors in the hospital at Khampat are all manufactured in India.

Though these medicines are provided free of cost to the Myanmarese patients, those coming from the villages on the Indian side of the border have to pay.

In the meantime, the shadow of HIV/AIDS spreading from Myanmar has started looming large over these border villages with many villagers including young men and women contracting the virus.

Though the Govt has initiated various programmes to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS, the impact of such programmes is yet to reach these border areas.

This reporter also came across some people who tried to cover up the fact of HIV/AIDS by asserting that there are no cases of HIV/AIDS in their villages.

However, along with the service of the Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) appointed in every village under the National Rural Health Mission, a headway seems to have been made in facilitating interaction between the doctors of the health centres and the villagers in connection with their health problems.


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