Darjeeling five years later
Five years ago I was in Darjeeling for an elective period (practical training during my medical studies). Now we returned here to see old friend and to see new developements.

I was very astonished that the SADDAR hospital drom that time did no longer exist. A new hospital had been built with funds of the World Bank. The building certainly was much better and cleaner too than the previos. Also in the meantime there were necessary diagnostics such as a laboratry, ultrasound and X-ray radiology.  It also was new, that patients had to pay a contribution towards thees investigations (see table).

Unfortunately Dr. Chaudhuri, the Gynaecologist who had trained me at that time had been taken to Calcutta with a suspectet myocardial infarction. Instead I spoke with the new Medical Superintendant. It complained that a beautiful new hospital building had been erected with the assistance of loans of the World Bank, but there was no money for maintenance. Thus he hopes that the X-ray machine and ultrasonographie keep on working as long as possible. The Superintendant seems to welcome foreign medical students very muich. Applications are to be addressed directly to him, so he can pass them on to the Chief Medical Officer.

We visited the labour ward. I was hapy to see old faces again. But I was shocked to see that behind this new facade hardly nothing had changed. There still was no runing water and the furniture such as the tables were birth was given and the newborn child beds are still the old ones. Also the instruments "are sterilized" in the old way.

I notice at the aspect from Susanne that I am already quite "toughend". Sees, what she writes:
"Another topic than the many tee plantations is the general hospital here again. Elias had done an elective period in the materinity ward five years before. Already the photos which I had seen left me quite shocked. We visited the nurses. And suddenly we found our selves in the labour room. This was both the nurses room as well as the birth area with four metal plank beds. On everyone a woman was laying and was giving birth. On the ground there were big puddles of blood and the women groand quietly. The nurses were busy with us.
The next day we returned because Elias hoped to meet a lady doctor from the former times. Today only one of the metal beds was occupied. We sat at the desk around an electrical furnace, where the nurses warmed themselves. We had tee. As soon as the
woman in labour moved or became louder again the nurses hushed here to be quiet again. When the smal head apaered the nurses went into position. The birth went very quietly. The baby was dead. Everything happened in the same room, only a few meters from us drinking our tee. I was sad as we left the hospital.
In the evening we visited one of the nurses at home, whom Elias knew from former times. On the question why she was not married, she answered that she has to much fear to bear a child. In the meantime she dose not work in the labour ward any more. Now shw is posted on the pedeatric ward."

Elias and Susanne
Darjeeling, 31/10/05

Address for elective periods:

Government District Hospital Darjeeling
F.A.O. The Medical Superintendant
Darjeeling, West Bengal
PIN 734101


Old friend

Kanadhi Ghakay
With Kanadhi I drunk a glass of beer quite often after a hard days work in the hospital five years back. In the mean time he is father of a two year old doughter and organises trekking-tours and hepls forain teachers to teach at tibetan schools.
Tel: 0091-(0)9832025739

Dawa is a exile-Tibetan and used to earn his living as salesman on a market. Now he is a Tibetan teacher for foreign students and Tibetans.
Tel: 0091-(0)354-2274094

The new District Hospital of Darjeeling

The Labour Ward nurses and Susanne

Labour Ward

Room for the new born

The cleaning women. On the stive cotten wall being

Round on the labour ward
Patients contributuions to...
Birth 3,20 Euro
Cecarian 6 Euro
Hysterectomy 12 Euro
Minor surgery
3 Euro
X-Ray investigation
0,70 Euro
Ultrasound (Lower/complete Abdomen) 3 bzw. 6 Euro
ECG 0,50 Euro
Laboritry test per test
0,20 Euro
Blood transfusion
Quelle: Kreissaalschwestern. Angaben in Euro gerundet.

Darjeeling von unserer Dachterasse mit dem Kanchanjunga (8585m) im Hintergrund, der dritthoechste Berg der Welt und der Hoechste Indiens

Darjeeling ist fuer seine Spitzentees beruehmt. Pflueckerinnen tragen die Ernte an einem Herbstag in die Fabrik,...

... wo der Tee getrocknet, vermentiert, nach Qualitaet sortiert...


... und gereinigt wird.