Diagnostic and Surgical Camps for Taking MIS to Remote Areas: A Report About Bhalukpong in Arunachal Pradesh


The Lancet commission on Global surgery estimates that a population of 100,000 would ideally require 5,000 surgical procedures every year. Although the national average is about 800 in most of the rural areas especially in the Northeastern states it varies from 30 to 300.

Minimally Invasive Surgeries [MIS] with rapid turnover has the advantage that visiting surgical teams could use the limited local infrastructure to provide the necessary surgical care. This would also empower the rural surgical facilities and would help in doctors staying back at rural areas. The currently available MIS are very expensive and require the logistic nightmare of providing the necessary gases for surgery and anesthesia as well as people trained to do these.


Northeast India is a difficult place to travel especially during rains. The following pictures show the roads in May this year even before the monsoon rains start.

These pictures were taken on the way to a place called Nafra in Arunachal Pradesh. It is about 7 hours’ drive from the border town called Bhalukpong that actually took over 12 hours because of the delays due to landslides and road blocks.

A diagnostic camp was organized by the Nafra Baptist Church there along with the Hope Health Clinic in Bhalukpong. Table 1 lists the statistics of the camp.


The surgical camps at Hope Health Center, Bhalukpong was started in the year 2017. The population in the immediate vicinity of the area is about 8,500 including the surrounding villages there. Table 2 gives information about the number of surgical procedures carried out at the Hope Health Center.


The diagnostic and surgical camps are a low-cost method of vastly improving the surgical coverage in remote and rural areas. The Arunachal Pradesh Medical council is very helpful in providing the necessary paper work for doing surgical procedures in Arunachal Pradesh.

Several doctors of Indian origin from Medical Colleges in India and abroad have come to help in Arunachal Pradesh and have enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of the local people and breathtaking beauty of the place.

A well-organized surgical and diagnostic camps are a way forward to meet the surgical needs of rural populations.


gnanaraj Dr. J. Gnanaraj MS, MCh [Urology], FICS, FARSI, FIAGES is a urologist and laparoscopic surgeon trained at CMC Vellore. He has been appointed as a Professor in the Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering Department of Karunya University and is the Director of Medical Services of the charitable organization SEESHA. He has a special interest in rural surgery and has trained many surgeons in remote rural areas while working in the mission hospitals in rural India. He has helped 21 rural hospitals start minimally invasive surgeries. He has more than 150 publications in national and international journals, most of which are related to modifications necessary for rural surgical practice. He received the Barker Memorial award from the Tropical Doctor for the work regarding surgical camps in rural areas. He is also the recipient of the Innovations award of Emmanuel Hospital Association for health insurance programs in remote areas and the Antia Finseth innovation award for Single incision Gas less laparoscopic surgeries. During the past year, he has been training surgeons in innovative gas less single incision laparoscopic surgeries.
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