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Platinum jubilee of AOD Hospital

By HN Sarma

DIGBOI, Jan 4 � The Indian Oil Corporation Limited (Assam Oil Division) Hospital at Digboi has completed 75 years of existence since 1939 in its present site The two-day long final phase of jubilation concluded today with a bonanza of events marking the historic occasion.

The legacy of this health-care facility is even longer. The erstwhile Assam Oil Company � a constituent unit of the oil conglomerate Burma Oil Company Limited, set up a health unit at Digboi in 1906, a few years after the establishment of Digboi Refinery for its employees and officers with the particular agenda of eradicating malaria from Digboi. Subsequently in 1927, the Burma Oil Company upgraded the unit into a 50-bed hospital in the sprawling campus of the present Multi Skill Development Centre of the AOD. That hospital had two extensions � one was the Refinery Dispensary and the other was the Field Dispensary at Muliabari area. The anti-malaria unit of the hospital was on the opposite side of the Refinery Dispensary with the rail-line in between as the divider.

The construction of the present hospital complex, initially with the provision of 180 beds, started in 1936 and the new acquisition was inaugurated in 1939 by Lady Reid, wife of the then Governor of Assam. The maternity ward of the hospital still continued to function at its older site � the space where the present Government Hospital of Digboi is. The maternity ward was shifted to the existing hospital complex in 1965-66 with an additional 20 beds. The then Health department inducted into the then Assam Oil Company Hospital, the system of Indian Pharmacopeia and Malarial Research. This hospital, preceded the founding of the Assam Oil College and Hospital at Dibrugarh, eight years later in 1947 and its importance in the entire region as a health care facility can very well be imagined.

The unique quality of AOD Hospital is its efficient management� a legacy left behind by the hard work, dedicatory spirit and scientific zeal of the founding fathers of the yesteryears like Dr AS Prowse (1939-1950), Dr CH Clarke (1950-1958), Dr TAB Edward (1958-1964) etc. It is a common hearsay that Dr Edward in his morning visits used to rub the floor of the hospital here and there casually with a white napkin and if any dark impression became visible, he would instantly take up the matter for appropriate action. The heritage of the hospital has been a consistent product of continuous growth and development.

The distinctive add-ons of the hospitals have been as follows:

It is the occupational health centre of the employees of IOCL (AOD, NEISO, MD), Eastern Producing Area of OIL, CISF, Tinsukia Terminal, Gopanari Bottling Plant and contractual workers of hazard areas; the catchment area of the health-care facility extends to the neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh; the induction of the first microscope in 1923 in the entire North-east in its pathological laboratory; the installation of the first ECG machine in the North-east in 1955; the establishment of the first Intensive Care Unit in 1971 with facilities of cardiac monitoring, defibrillation, external cardiac pacing and bird respirator; initiation of community health services in 1984; starting of the Assam Oil School of Nursing in 1986; the setting up of the first Burn Unit in the North-east in 1996; the facility of telemedicine installed in 2009; Substance Use Treatment Unit (SUTU) activity started in 2010; Blood Bank services reorganised as per norms, laparoscopy and phaco machine installed and �Sarve Santo Niramaya�� a programme for live-stock care of the surrounding areas started in 2012; HPLC Analyser procured in 2013, et al.

The average annual OPD attendance in the hospital is more than one lakh and the IPD admissions total around 4000 per year, whereas, the number of surgeries performed in a year cross 2000.

Inaugurating the platinum jubilee celebrations of the AOD hospital on June 24, 2014, Rajkumar Gosh, Director (R)/DIC-AOD remarked �An exemplary community service project, the AOD Hospital aptly symbolises the core values of Indian Oil�.

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