As an integral part of the medical fraternity we are naturally mortified and concerned about the way in which some medical camps have recently been organized. Just as we were getting over the tragedy of the Chhattisgarh mass sterilization debacle here comes another tragedy where sixty senior persons lost their vision after eye operations at a medical camp organized in Punjab. One can only wonder at the lax manner in which such free medical camps get organized.
Unknowingly people suffer these shocking calamities every once in a while, and when such morbid instances gain epic proportions, one can only surmise that planning and preparations were haywire. These recent cases have drawn much flak, from both national and international media, and also great deal of debating has occurred amid the district medical authorities and medical groups in these areas.
It therefore becomes very essential to gain an understanding of the role of free camps or continuing medical education programmes as the case may be, to carefully examine the proprieties of holding such camps. We know for sure that it is largely poor and weaker sections of society that come to such camps. More often than not the implementing agencies are either adhering to targets, or fulfilling agendas or even using such opportunities for effective marketing gambits. But unwittingly they often backfire by some wrong or incorrect planning.
Whatever their intention – one thing is definite that participating crowds of mainly poor patients do benefit from the ministrations of medical doctors and even get free medications for their treatments. HERD Foundation has a history of organizing such medical camps since the past several years, and it has been with a sense of commitment that we have literally reproduced hospital like setting in the outdoors. In our experience such camps have to be planned meticulously right down to the smallest detail to be tapped properly.
Hand in hand with Lata Mangeshkar Hospital, our sister concern, we have catered to the medical needs of large numbers of poor, weak, and marginalized people both in villages and in city slums. It has been no mean task to delegate responsibilities at every level for day long health camps providing free medical checkups to over 2000 registered people. We include eight medical departments ( Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics, Orthopedics, Ophthalmology, Surgery, Dental and ENT Departments) from our hospital with matching teams of doctors, interns, nurses and attendants providing due support to examine and treat patients.
HERD Foundations innovative approaches have attempted such health care delivery in deep rural-tribal areas close to Nagpur. We have been able to provide the best health facilities and services to the poor tribal populations, until quite recently absolutely free of cost. Referral cases get patients treated in hospital for which they are duly charged so that a value based model of health care becomes available. Our own strategy has been to focus on key elements of effective risk management to endeavor to anticipate what could possibly go wrong, work towards reducing chances of it going wrong and plan what to do when it does go wrong. Understanding the essence of “risk management” sees to it that medical camps pre-assess and manage these risks.