Today I experienced a different side of Goa when I went to try and get a Yellow Fever Vaccination or exemption certificate.
I had previously enquired in 2 private medical facilities (hospitals) re this and had been advised that they did not do these. In fact it was only the Urban Health Centre in Panjim or the Government Hospital that could do this for me.
I had failed to be able to reach the Urban Health Centre by telephone and thus not sure whether it was still open and when it performed the vaccinations (as it stated on the website it was every 2nd and 4th Tueday in the month but another hospital had advised it was on a Wednesday so……………I asked my friend who was going to be passing the main government hospital in Panjim if she could check out for me if they did the vaccination.
Great news – they told her yes they did do, so I headed up there early on Monday morning and reached there about 0830. I had anticipated I may be there a few hours so took my Kindle.
Checking at enquiries they sent me to the injection rom who told me they didn’t do them but I should check with OPD 14 on the first floor. Got there to find they did not do them but they sent me to Casualty. Got lost trying to find Casualty as I was directed the wrong way twice (Indian directions are never clear – however I put that down to the fact that they just all know where everything is in their vicinity and they never travel outside of it!) until I saw an ambulance and realised it was there.
When I did speak to a man in Casualty department he now referred me to OPD 12 but first I had to go and register in the from hall (where I had come in). So I went back around the buildings and joined the registration queue for women – they have another one for men.
Anyway, at 1000am I paid my 20/- and was registered and headed to OPD 12 with my piece of paper where I joined another shorter queue and after 20 minutes I reached the front. The man there then wrote on my piece of paper, gave it back to me sent me to the end of the corridor to get a ticket.
I then swapped my piece of paper for a ticket with number 92/F on it and joined the throng of people waiting to be called in to see a junior registrar.
I quickly discovered that the F on my ticket denoted female and also realised that they had only just called 32/F. So I stood outside this door for a couple of hours with a vast array of Indians (still no foreign faces) who were smiling and charming and patient also. We were all gradually called in by number to the room behind the door where we then queued up until called by name by a junior registrar.
It is now 1215 and I am called up and when I explain what I need, I am advised by the junior registrar that he will check with his senior so please to follow him. Into the other room we go and she charmingly tells me that unfortunately they do not do yellow fever vaccine here and that I will need to go to the Urban Health Centre in Pan Jim.
However, she does suggest I may like to check first with the DHS (Directorate of Health Services) which is opposite the Kala Centre in Panjim . As I am only 3 miles away and it is not the lunch hour yet (1300 everything stops until 4pm usually) I zoom off to find this.
Reaching the DHS they do advise me that I will need to be going to the Urban Health centre in Panjim and not any old day as only certain days does it do this.
I ask them for the number and then call up this centre whilst still in their offices. Connecting I am informed that they usually do the yellow fever on 2nd and 4th Weds of the month.
However, this week 22nd (Weds) is a holiday (for Diwali) so they will be doing them from 0900 -1200 on 23rd and they work on a “first-come, first served” basis.
Right, so I will need to get there early so I decide today, whilst still in Panjim to find out where they are. After a bit of road navigating whereby a number of people point me in the direction of Bombay Bazaar and Ritzi hotel (both close to Urban Health apparently ) I find the place and get my bearings. Check it out and decide yes, OK – I will drive back up here EARLY on Thursday to get in line for my “first-come first served inoculation and/or exemption certificate.
And so at this point I drive back to Colva reaching there at 2.15pm.
A nice mornings experience you may say. Obviously I got out in the fresh air, got some exercise, learnt a lot about life in the government hospital system and read quite a bit of my kindle book.
I also realised that patience is definitely the key to being healthy. I still do not have full peace of mind as I still need resolution to this but then life is never easy.
The hospital system actually does seem to be quite organised, amazing and efficient really when you think how many people there are in India.
I must say I felt sorry for Gloria (who was in the queue for OPD12 with me) as she told me that she has to come every three months to have her blood pressure checked and after that has been done then she waits around for a prescription and then gets it filled in the hospital pharmacy.
She did however say she felt that the queues were a lot better today and that is probably because it Diwali.