Health check-ups along with home voting in remote villages of Kra-Daadi district in Arunachal Pradesh.

Gida Yajik, a nonagenarian, does not remember when she last voted or visited a doctor for treatment miles away from home in Pania village of Arunachal Pradesh’s Kra-Daadi district.

On April 15, the 92-year-old experienced both — voting and healthcare — at home.

Sending a medical team along with polling personnel to provide home voting service to geriatric electors and persons with disabilities (PwDs) was a last-minute decision by the district’s Deputy Commissioner and Election Officer Sunny K. Singh.

The medical team comprising nursing officer Takhe Manju, ophthalmic assistant Koj Minu, and laboratory technician Ajay Singh was tagged along with the election team under the presumption that the targeted home voters might not have had access to healthcare in recent times.

Age a stumbling block

As it turned out, Ms. Yajik stopped going to the nearest primary health centre (PHC) in Palin, the district headquarters located 13 km from her village, decades ago. Terrain and advancing age were the primary factors for this decision.

“She was partially blind due to cataract and it was difficult for her to even move from one spot to another in the same room,” Hibu Kapi, Tali Circle Officer and the district’s nodal officer for postal ballots, told The Hindu on Tuesday.

Similarly, 87-year-old Techi Yaya of Rissi village, 21 km from Palin, and 88-year-old Dari Roru of Dari village, 33 km from Palin, were found to have turned almost blind due to cataracts.

Taku Yamak, a 45-year-old speech-impaired woman in a wheelchair also had some health issues. She is from Langdang village, about 18 km from Palin.

Mobility issues

“Even though the voters have members of their families as caregivers and the health facilities are not that far from their houses, they were unable to access health facilities as well as vote for years because of the difficulties faced in moving around,” Ms. Kapi said.

“We conducted a general health check-up, which included measuring blood pressure, diabetes screening, and dental check-up apart from cataract screening,” the ophthalmic assistant said.

The geriatric and differently-abled voters were advised treatment at the nearest health facility. “We shall try to help them in any way possible,” the Deputy Commissioner said.

Emphasis on healthcare

An improved healthcare system has been one of the promises made by the political parties in their election manifestos. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), for instance, assured drone delivery of life-saving drugs to 500 remote villages in the State.

Kra-Daadi district falls within Arunachal West, one of the two Lok Sabha constituencies in Arunachal Pradesh. The other is Arunachal East.

Elections to the two parliamentary seats and 50 of the 60 Assembly seats will be held simultaneously on April 19. The BJP won the remaining 10 Assembly constituencies unopposed.

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