A PHC in a remote Kerala village shows where there is a will, there is well-being

The Noolpuzha Family Health Centre has presented a model worth emulating in ensuring basic health services for all. Photos: Shahina KK

Fifty-five-year-old Jose Thomas made a living working as a salesman at a spices shop at Mananthavady in Wayanad district of Kerala. In the January of 2021, however, his life turned upside down when he fell from a tree and injured his spine. The spinal injury left Jose paralysed waist-down.

“He remained in a private hospital for over a month paying Rs 6,000 per day. When the treatment was over, physiotherapy followed. We did physiotherapy for a few days in that hospital, but we could not afford it after a point,” Jose’s nephew Amal told The Federal.

The family took Jose home but he still could not move and was in need of physiotherapy. It is then that neighbours and a few distant relatives suggested that the family could take Jose to the Family Health Centre (FHC) in Noolpuzha panchayat.

So, to begin with, the family wasn’t convinced. They reluctantly took Jose to the centre only to find that the Noolpuzha FHC is the top choice for patients who need physiotherapy not just in Kerala but also the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Within months of treatment Jose not only began to walk but also returned to work as a salesman in a nearby shop. Jose is just one among the many of those who come on wheelchairs to Noolpuzha FHC but go back walking.

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