Earlier this year, a new Cluster launched in the isolated north-east region of India. DR. ROHAN RAMESH is one of its members. He’s been telling us what excites him about his work, the region and the Cluster.
Tell us about your job. I’m a Community Medicine Consultant at the CIHSR hospital in Dimapur. I run community mobile clinics, train government health centre staff, and train church leaders and youth to combat epidemics. How did you get involved in community health? After graduating as a doctor I worked briefly at a mission hospital serving a tribal community in southern India. This opened my eyes to the untapped role of preventive medicine. It’s so important, and it takes place in the community, not in a health facility. This led me to study a Masters in Community Medicine at Christian Medical College, Vellore. Can you give us an idea of the state of healthcare in Nagaland? Healthcare has been slow to develop here, due to the region’s geographical isolation, its difficult mountainous terrain, and then other social and political issues too. For me, this means there are lots of opportunities to develop programs tailored to Nagaland’s unique needs. How did you get involved in the Cluster? Well my daily work incorporates maternal and child health, non-communicable diseases, disability, mental health and community-based research. I’ve long felt that all of this work would benefit from a network of like-minded Christian organisations. And so the mission and vision of Arukah Network – a novel and practical idea – is what I, and CIHSR, had been hoping for. What’s your role in the Cluster? So far I've coordinated some of our training. But I’m mainly responsible for the Cluster’s media and communications, like developed some brochures for Cluster events [check out our Facebook page here!]. Your Cluster is one of our youngest – what are your hopes for its future? We’re currently sixteen NGOs. We’d like more, but we also hope to get the Church more involved in health activities. Unlike the rest of India, nearly ninety per cent of Nagaland’s population is Christian, and so the Church has considerable authority and reach. And our emphasis on addressing the basic human needs mirrors Jesus Christ’s approach in his ministry. How do you relax when you're not working? Music! I play bass guitar, I make electronic music, and I’ve recently begun taking cello lessons. I also keep fit by jogging and cross-fit routines. I enjoy carpentry too, and try my hand at small projects at home. Find out more about the Cluster in this interview with its mobiliser – and director of CIHSR – Dr. Sedevi Angami.