‘Dr Indran Kolhi the only hope for pregnant women in Thar’

MITHI: Inside the hospital ward, in a corner, newborn triplets were lying on the bed and Dr Indran Kolhi is trying to save them as triplets are premature babies. Though, the Taluka hospital Naagarparkar has a baby incubator, but the hospital still needs a fully equipped Neonatal intensive care unit. “I asked the mother and father of the triplets, who belong to a small village of Kasbo, to take the babies to Mithi hospital, but they are poor and can’t afford to go to Mithi, therefore, I am trying to save them with available resources,” Dr Kolhi told Daily Times.

She belongs to Kolhi community, an indigenous community of the Thar Desert and famous rebel leader Rooplo Kolhi, a freedom fighter who fought against British government to save his mother land and was hanged, belongs to this community and is considered as national hero of Sindh by Sindhi nationalists.

Dr Kolhi was born and raisedin Sindh’s second biggest city of Hyderabad. After completing her Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from Liaquat University of Medical & Health Sciences (LUMHS) Jamshoro, when she was offered to work in the remote town of Thar Desert, she happily agreed to go and work in Nagarparkar. “My parents belong to a small village of Thar Desert, so when I asked to go and serve to my own people, how can I refuse? If I refuse, who else will come and work here,” Dr Kolhi said.

Nagarparkar is a subdivision of Tharparkar district and lies extreme in south of Sindh province along Indian border and famous for having magnificent range of Karoonjhar hills, centuries’ old Jain Temples and several other historical places.
Dr Kolhi is the only lady doctor in Nagarparkar Taulka hospital, which was established in 1984. This is the only hospital that serves to around 300,000 population of the subdivision. There are several posts of doctors and other paramedic staffs are lying vacant, but Sindh government has yet to fill these posts.

Followed by a severe drought since 2011, when media reported deaths of hundreds of newborn in Thar Desert, Sindh government finally appointed more 35 lady doctors in the district, but 32 of them are appointed just in one hospital, the district headquarter hospital Mithi. These days, Taulka Hospital Nagarparkar receives 60 to 70 patients (pregnant women) from rural areas and everyday 4 to 5 deliveries are conducted in the hospital.

She is on call 24-hour with no other doctor supporting. “Since I am the only doctor in this hospital, therefore I have to work round the clock. Whenever, any patient comes any time, even in the late night, I have to attend her,” she said.

Mother of three, Dr Kolhi is unable to give time to her own children. “I am the only doctor and all women are dependent on me for their treatments, so I have to give them time,” she added.

She is also a surgeon and can conduct surgeries, but there is no anaesthetist appointed in the hospital, so she prefers normal deliveries. “I prefer not to refer any patients to Mithi hospital, as the distance is long, so I always try to conduct normal deliveries,” she said.

Published in Daily Times, January 30th 2018.