Award winning Jessami PHC reels under acute manpower shortage

Despite having bagged the best PHC for three consecutive years since 2016 and subsequent commendations, Jessami Primary Health Centre today is reeling under an acute manpower shortage.

BySonalee Maibam and Bishworjit Mandengbam

Updated 10 Feb 2023, 4:13 pm

(Photo: IFP)
(Photo: IFP)

Another death bell tolls in the cold at Jessami, a border village in Ukhrul district. This time, it is the death of a 64-year-old woman, who succumbed on the way to Imphal for treatment following a stroke. The death toll in the village climbed to three in the last two months. Of the three deceased, two suffered from stroke and one died of jaundice, as they could not be provided immediate medical attention.

Many villagers succumbed on their way to Ukhrul or Imphal as the primary health centre (PHC) at Jessami, despite having bagged the best PHC for three consecutive years since 2016 and subsequent commendations, is reeling under acute manpower shortage.

With a distance of 193.1 km, it takes more than seven hours to reach Imphal from Jessami, and more than four hours to reach Ukhrul town. 

According to the villagers, the Jessami PHC has only three doctors, two nurses and a paramedic; no lab technician was available at the centre. But only one doctor was available at the moment as one has been utilised at Chingai PHC and the other is on maternity leave.

jessami, jessami phc, ukhrul, health, doctors, nurses

As per the guidelines, each PHC should be manned by four medical officers, a dentist, an ayurvedic doctor, three staff nurses, a paramedic, a lab technician, a grade-IV and an ambulance driver.  


According to the sole medical officer in the PHC, the centre failed to provide a lab diagnostic centre and even basic medicines. Many pregnant women had no options but to deliver their child without an ultrasound test and is still a nightmare for expecting mothers of the village. 

Former chairman of Jessami village council, Ayete Wezah, said the X-ray machine was recently brought to the PHC but there is no designated room and technician to operate the machine. He added that, due to a lack of staff in the PHC, the villagers of Jessami often go to Phek (Nagaland), Ukhrul or Imphal for treatment.

"If the patient is serious, they often die on the road and we have experienced many incidents similar to this," he said. 

Speaking to Imphal Free Press Ayete Wezah, further said that they have an ambulance but there is no driver and not even a grade-IV staff to look after the PHC. 

Roma Wezah, a member of Jessami Mahila, said that women often face many difficulties with regard to childbirth. There are only two pharmacies in the village and basic life-saving medicine is not available most of the time.

"We would go to Phek and Dimapur in this neighbouring state of Nagaland for medicine," the lady said. Since there is no proper staff, even small fractures cannot be treated, she added. 

Adding to the woes, Misupelu Wezah, an executive member of the Jessami Student's Union, expressed serious concerns about the lack of an ultrasound machine in the PHC.


Due to the unavailability of ultrasound machines, deliveries happened without knowing the status of the baby which might pose danger to both the child and the mother.

"We are always recommended to go to other bigger hospitals whenever we have a serious case," she lamented.

The villagers added that the long distance and deplorable condition of the road poses a threat to mothers who were referred to other hospitals. And, patients often succumbed on the road.

The Manipur cabinet has recently approved the upgradation of health centres, including Jesami PHC along with other several health centres.

It may be mentioned that Chief Minister N Biren Singh assured upgrading the PHC to a Community Health Centre (CHC). He gave the assurance to the villagers in the three-day Tekru-Nge festival celebration held from January 19 to 21.

The Jessami PHC which covers approximately 61 km has bagged the best PHC award for three consecutive years and a commendation award under KAYAKALP scheme which give awards to those public health facilities that demonstrate high levels of cleanliness, hygiene and infection control since 2016.

The PHC, however, lacks manpower and basic infrastructure. Amid the sufferings, the villagers have drawn the attention of the government for upgrading the PHC at the earliest and to address their plight.


First published:


ukhruldoctorshealthnursesprimary health centrejessami phc

Sonalee Maibam and Bishworjit Mandengbam

Sonalee Maibam and Bishworjit Mandengbam

Imphal Free Press, Imphal, Manipur


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