The flood-hit terrains in Bainsa division of Purnia, Bihar, would have faced massive casualties, had it not been for the group of doctors who came in as saviours in motorcycles two weeks ago.
As many as 132 villages, falling under 16 panchayats of Bainsa, were cut off from the rest of the state, after being ravaged by floods.
With more and more people falling prey to diseases, the authorities were at a loss to find ways to make medical support reach the villagers.
But after an inspection by Purnia district collector Pradeep Kumar Jha and the superintendent of police on motorcycles, an idea struck them.
“I and the district police chief went to take stock of the situation. We rode a motorcycle. It struck us that we should send doctors on motorbikes to provide health services to the flood-hit areas,” Pradeep told Firstpost.
Thus began ‘Operation Motorcycle Doctors’, under which 18 doctors reached out to villages on their motorcycles. Dividing the responsibility of 16 panchayats amongst themselves, each morning the doctors went in different directions, accompanied by nurses and paramedics, along with medical kits, medicines, glucose biscuits and fresh water.
Initially, the doctors who took up the task of treating the patients were doctors Anwar Alam, Anjani Kumar and Srinand. Those who were too ill for basic treatment were taken to nearby hospitals on the same bikes.
Belonging to the staff of the district hospital and their relatives, the bikes were ridden up to 80 km on a daily average.
According to Bainsa Primary Healthcare Centre’s health manager Varun Kumar, Bainsa had turned into a water-world, making it impossible for an ambulance to enter.
“The flood situation this year was particularly grim. That the doctors agreed to go on motorcycles to far-flung flooded villages was the saviour,” he said.
It wasn’t just the doctors who acted selflessly. Lack of fuel in petrol pumps also posed as a problem. Coming to rescue were the pump owners, who managed to get hold of petrol for the bikes.
Also, many ASHA Bahus (rural health worker) helped the villagers during the grim situation.
Reportedly, more than 10,000 patients were treated and provided medicines on the spot. The biking team of doctors were supervised by a senior civil surgeon and chief medical officer (CMO) Dr M Wasim.
“Working in flood conditions was a huge challenge but that the team pulled it off with aplomb. The district incurred an expense of ₹200-250 on every motorcycle per day. Initially, we had 18 teams working a radius of 80 km. Now we have four teams doing calls. The situation is returning to normal, thanks to our doctors who performed to their best,” Dr Wasim said.