He looks exhausted, yet full of excitement from the daylong picnic trip with fellow villagers on the occasion of New Year.
“I thoroughly enjoyed after a long time,” he said.
Meet Suk Man Tamang, 62, from Gosarling gewog in Tsirang. He is one of the oldest- and longest-serving village health worker (VHW) in Tsirang.
It was in 2002 that the village gup informed Suk Man that he had to serve as a VHW. He had been to the village after reigning as a caretaker in a Basic Health Unit. Initially, he felt it was under compulsion that he was asked to work but soon began to take pleasure in doing his job. The job that is absolutely voluntary, without any financial benefits.
He remembers being on the verge of giving up when he could not manage farming time. He said that was when the blessings from fellow villagers kept him going.
“In the past, VHWs was one of the toughest and vital jobs,” he said. “I feel proud in being one.”
During the early years of his service, he walked up until Damphu General Hospital to collect essential medicines twice a month. He walked around the village looking for any sick people at home. Creating awareness on personal hygiene, surrounding cleanliness, pregnancy monitoring and collection data on birth and death were some of his primary responsibility as a VHW.
Besides knowledge on essential medicines, he knew nothing about health. He regrets not being able to continue his education after class 1 in 1971.
He says voluntarism was never a goal in his life. While he ended up doing so by default, it earned him merits to cherish for the rest of his life. “It was indeed the best 16-years of my life,” he said.
Suk Man feels time has now come when he should retire from service.
Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang