The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript - J.P. Mills, tour diary, January 1928

caption: Problems of health care and especially of vaccination in the hill tracts
medium: notestours
ethnicgroup: Kachari
location: Hojai
date: 27.1.1928
person: Mills/ J.P.
date: 1.1928
refnum: (from): J.P.Mills and others, "Tour Diaries and Administrative Notes from the North Cachar Hills, Assam. 1928-1940. Unpublished Government Papers" at SOAS Library, London. Pam. Assam B 314349.
text: 27th Jan. To Hojai 9 miles. 8:30 - 11:30. Our first march along a bridle path. Nicely shaded and in good condition. Care will have to be taken that the orders regarding the preservation of road-side trees are strictly observed.
text: The Inspector of Vaccination met us. He pointed out how inadequate is the present staff of two permanent vaccinators for the Subdivision. I entirely agree with him. There is a population of some 27000, scattered along the railway line and in some 300 hill villages, most of them small, and so scattered that it is often impossible for a man to visit more than one in the day. It is utterly impossible for two men to cover the ground, and the result is that we are always liable to have outbreaks of smallpox like the present one. Two more permanent men are essentially necessary. They should be Kacharis of this Subdivision - no plainsman would be able to stand the travelling. I think too the Director of Public Health should consider whether a Kachari Inspector of Vaccination should not be appointed for this Subdivision, or, as an alternative, a Sub-Assistant Surgeon (of Kuech or Kachari or some similar caste) who would combine the duties of Inspector of Vaccination and itinerating Sub-Assistant Surgeon. The present Inspector, a Mohammedan, is no longer young and the work which he is now doing here must be a great strain on him. I should like to commend the cheerfulness with which he is carrying out his duties. If a Sub-Assistant Surgeon be appointed to carry out the combined duties he should if possible be a man both who will get on well with hillmen and who will be admitted into their houses by Kacharis. The medical provision for this Subdivision is nothing short of a disgrace, as I have noted before without tangible result. There are many villages two long marches or more from either of the only two dispensaries in the Subdivision. I wonder whether a similar state of affairs in a plains subdivision would attract the attention of a Member of Council. The state of affairs here is a comment on the usefulness of the member for Backward Tracts.