Imphal: The Primary Health Centre (PHC) located at Oinam Hill village meets the medical needs of 33 neighboring villages. Staffed by three doctors, the PHC has earned a reputation of being one of the most efficient and active in the State. In order to strengthen and support the work of the PHC in Oinam village, the Rogi Kalyan Samiti (RKS) was formed and registered as a Society. The RKS oversees the proper functioning and management of the PHC to ensure that medical care is available to all classes of the society.
The most pressing requirement of the Oinam PHC has been for an ambulance to meet emergencies in the dependent villages, but due to various factors, this critical need could not be met. As a result, many seriously ill-persons, accident victims and pregnant mothers in the remote villages were facing great difficulty in getting timely medical treatment.
Given the situation, RKS approached Col Christopher Rego (Retd.) Founder and CEO of Sunbird Trust, an NGO working across North East India with the objective of promoting peace through education for sponsoring an ambulance. Convinced of the need for the ambulance, Col Rego secured the support of Prestige Foundation, Bangalore. Headed by Irfan Razackto, the NGO sponsored the purchase of a Trax Cruiser Ambulance that would be run by the RKS. The Prestige Foundation has been of immense support in various projects of Sunbird Trust. To the delight of the village community and especially the staff of the PHC, Sunbird Trust formally handed over a brand new Trax Cruiser Ambulance to the RKS at a well-attended ceremony at Oinam Village on April 15. The event was graced by Myrna Rego, Sunbird Trust COO Dr Sonal Sethia, other team members, Dr. Pfokheho Pfoze, Director/CMO, District Health Society, Dr. Helen Shimray, District Leprosy Officer, the entire fraternity of Primary Health Centre and representatives from neighboring villages.
In his speech Col Chris Rego said the donation of the ambulance to the village was an expression of kinship and support from people in far away Bangalore and in fact, the rest of the country. He was sanguine that the new ambulance would greatly alleviate the difficulty being faced by the dependent villages of the PHC. Having been approached by the two schools in the village for the assistance of Sunbird Trust for renovation and provision of basic infrastructure like toilets, he stated that the organization could partner with the village community to actualize these requirements. Addressing the school children present at this remote village, he told them that the entire country await them warmly with endless opportunities. He exhorted them to work hard and acquire the required academic qualifications.
Applauding the initiative, Dr. Pfokheho Pfoze expressed that “The ambulance is for the people. We will do whatever we can to strengthen health infrastructure. I will assert and ensure that the competent authority the employment of a driver at the earliest”, he assured the gathering.
“The whole district of Senapati is facing a shortfall in emergency services. With COVID-19 paralyzing every life and a government support system a distant dream, the intervention of Sunbird Trust could not have come at a better time” remarked Longni John Tao, who was instrumental in coordinating the initiative.
Th. Ngulani, ex-Chairman, Oinam Hill Village Authority on behalf of the villagers expressed gratitude for this initiative. “Torn apart with psychological shock by most unfortunate events of 1987, the Oinam Hill villagers are still limping with its scars. The mission of Sunbird Trust in empowering the village and being our guardian angel is a prayer answered,” he said.
Col Rego said that his organization is a secular and non-denominational entity that works to educate and empower youth especially in remote, conflict affected areas of North East India so as to facilitate their employability and gainful employment. Since its establishment in 2014, Sunbird Trust has helped educate over 3,300 underprivileged children. It has also helped in setting up of 7 schools and 8 hostels, most of them in Manipur state. Its team of 20 young men and women; mainly trained teachers and development professionals hailing from across the country, who live and work in Sunbird Trust’s remote project areas. Recently, as many as 9 graduates, all from Manipur, sponsored by Sunbird Trust through their graduation have returned to their home state and joined the organization to serve in the remote villages where the Sunbird projects are taken up.