The Rockland hospital is on Chamraj estate. It has been there for many years, gradually developing and expanding. The hospital serves the workers of The United Nilgiri Tea Estates Co. Ltd. (including workers from Chamraj and Korakundah estates) as well as surrounding communities and other estates nearby. Dr Oamprakash works Monday to Saturday and sees an average of 35-50 patients per day.
(The workers) have more confidence in coming here. Trust, faith and they refer other patients to this hospital because of the different care and treatment that is given here compared to others. They value that.
Previously, there was one permanent female doctor employed in the hospital. Due to the high demand of the hospital services, and requests from the workers for a male doctor, the Fairtrade Premium Committee decided to fund the salary of Dr Oamprakash to run clinics daily. Having been a professor at a college of pharmacy in Ooty, he took this job after retiring. He has worked at Rockland for 15 years. In this time he says ‘the quality of life of the estate workers has improved’. There is a schedule of visiting specialists that come once a week and include diabetes specialists, orthopaedic specialists and cardiologists. There is a fully equipped dental surgery, fitted out by Fairtrade Premium funds, and an ultrasound scanner, also purchased with Fairtrade Premium funds.
Dr Oamprakash says of the Rockland hospital ‘the care is very good and it is very popular’. Patients are often referred from his other clinics on surrounding estates to this hospital. Its location is convenient for the surrounding estates and communities and the staff say the facilities are much better than government hospitals.
One of the most important parts of his role is health education, giving people information about nutrition, safe water and sanitation, and how to prevent diseases spreading. He also educates people about the effects of smoking. There is an immunisation programme, partly government funded and additional immunisations are available because of funds from Fairtrade Premium.