A mobile hospital has brought hope at the doorstep for Titaram Payeng, a middle-aged farmer unable to work for the last three months because of a severe stomach ailment, and many like him having no access to proper healthcare.
Payeng's wife and two children suffered with him in their isolated village near Jonai, about 550 km from Assam's main city of Guwahati, as he could not earn a penny due to his sudden illness.
Payeng could not afford to visit the district hospital in Dhemaji and there were no doctors or medicines at the local health centre, forcing him to get medication from a local quack.
But life is looking up for Payeng now with Dhemaji district getting a state-of-the-art hospital-on-wheels - along with seven other districts in Assam.
The mobile hospital sits on two different buses equipped with sophisticated laboratory and diagnostic facilities, including X-ray machines, ECG, ultrasound, and an operation table.
Two doctors, two nurses, a radiologist and a pharmacist would be accompanying the mobile hospital in a separate vehicle.
"The mobile medical units would have two buses and a small vehicle aimed at reaching the doorsteps of people in rural areas," Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told IANS.
The mobile units would visit isolated areas and villages on appointed days where patients could avail themselves of the services of the expert team of doctors.
Eight such mobile hospital units have been launched in as many districts in Assam - all the 19 districts would be covered by the scheme under the National Rural Health Mission by March next year.
Assam has become the first state under the Mission to introduce the hospital-on-wheels concept.
"People like us are surely to be benefited by such healthcare facilities," Payeng said.
There are similar plans for people living in an estimated 2,500 sandbars located along the Brahmaputra river by March 2008.
"We shall have hospital on boats for such people who cannot be reached by the mobile units. The Assam government is laying maximum stress on upgrading the healthcare sector in the state," the minister said.