Employment Opportunities for Our Youth

Despite the brouhaha about ‘acche din’ or good days as they say, it remains a hard fact that the youth of our country continue to confront challenges for getting suitable job placements after graduating from their studies. Creating a platform for availability of jobs that suits the employer base and that readily absorbs a growing number of young people entering the work force, is now part of HERD Foundations inherent activities. The Employment Fair is a regular feature, adding value to our education component.

We start off each year to understand and estimate availability of productive jobs in our vicinity. Alongside we explore the spectrum of disciplines that will respond to such openings. With final year students ready to walk out of portals of educational institutions in March each year, such an enterprise becomes all the more meaningful. With due preparation we remain focused on the employment scenario in formal/informal, private/public and urban/rural sectors for jobs that become source of income for the needy.

The Foundation pays special attention to low income families comprising majority of the population. We see good impact of efforts in the employment sector to positively influence growth and expansion of opportunities for more applicants who are able to secure suitable and better paying jobs. This then becomes a reason for much satisfaction and one that complements our work on poverty mitigation. We encourage young people to open up to ever widening choices. In a region beset with challenges for employment, the youth are actually provided due hand-holding and support to seek every possibility.

Vidarbha has not escaped the youth employment crisis and in fact in rural areas the situation is really quite grim. Unemployment rate for young male graduates in rural region is particularly high. The whole point of provision of education here appears to be in a morass if employment avenues are not in sight. In fact we are keen to start vocational education in these parts so that we can then offer them increased chances to find jobs as also to facilitate self-employment. This will be beneficial in the long-term too.

As an advocate for youth HERD Foundation is attempting to ensure that candidates commit themselves completely to this endeavor. We make certain that they make full use of the opportunity to participate effectively in their own best interests. We address the match between prospective companies and qualified students that opens up ways to reduce long-term youth unemployment. The attempt is also to train candidates to become fully equipped in following through with the demands of employers. For this we organize measures like extended training programmes to enable better access to jobs.

Employment Opportunities for Youth

Employment Opportunities for Youth

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Vision Impairment & Correctable Disabilities

Magnitude of The Problem

Magnitude of The Problem

HERD Foundation works periodically through affiliated medical institutes for correction of disabilities. In the past we have done far-reaching work on lip-cleft surgical repair interventions. We are now keen on working on vision impairment for teaching communities to maintain eye health. We look ahead to embrace the challenges in this connection that hopefully will serve in servicing people with vision disabilities.

We reinforce positive attitudes to look on persons with visual impairments to be included for these services. In the hope of creating user friendly approaches for people with visual impairments we have been ruminating to understand that very many visual disabilities are correctable conditions. This would mean we could promote an inclusive world in which all persons with disabilities enjoy their human rights and achieve their full potential.

HERD Foundation visualizes doing this in three ways. We are working on partnerships that support medical care for vision disabilities and for prevention of conditions lead to impairments. We will improve access to healthcare, education and rehabilitation services for people in need of vision care. We want to be part of efforts that mainstream visual disability in all aspects and to empower persons with these disabilities.

It is on humanitarian grounds that HERD Foundation wishes to take an active role in the communities through their inclusion for such development projects, and to involve them in all such initiatives that will benefit them. Disabilities can thus be addressed by good Samaritans to benefit people facing barriers in finding solutions to their vision related health problems.

Our hope is to assist disadvantaged people suffering from impairments. It is really essential to help such people as they do not know that they can be treated and rediscover the full potential of their limitations. This means that HERD Foundation will offer support and play a role in breaking down prejudice towards people with disabilities.

Imagine a situation where a person with correctable visual impairment is further disabled by the attitudes of others around him. Such people can be readily treated rather than facing isolation, mistreatment and maybe even ridicule. HERD Foundation seeks to improve access to eye care, eye-care education and rehabilitation services for persons with visual impairments. We want to mainstream this disability in all aspects of empowerment for the afflicted persons.

Facts about Visual Impairment:

  • Worldwide, 285 million people are visually impaired due to various cases; 39 million of them are blind.
  • 121 million are visually impaired because of uncorrected refractive errors (near-sightedness, far-sightedness or astigmatism). Almost all of them could have normal vision restored with eyeglasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery.
  • 90% of visually impaired people live in low- and middle-income countries.
  • 51% of all blindness is due to age-related cataract, the leading cause of blindness. (Statistics taken from World Health Organization website)
Visual Impairment

Visual Impairment

Sushruta – Medical Pioneer of Ancient India

Sushruta – Medical Pioneer of Ancient India

Sushruta – Medical Pioneer of Ancient India

Sushruta is considered one of the earliest surgeons in recorded history and has been the first individual to describe plastic surgery in his famous ancient treatise ‘Sushruta Samhita’. He is said to have lived nearly 150 years before Hippocrates, and his renowned compendium written in 600 B.C. spells out surgical procedures in minutest detail. He is also credited to be the first surgeon to perform plastic surgery!

Many believe plastic surgery to be a new specialty. However its origins are ascertained to have existed over 4000 years back in India. The Vedas compiled in Sanskrit language between 3000 and 1000 B.C. comprise of the oldest sacred books of the Hindu religion. Of the four Vedas – ‘Sushruta Samhita’ is a part of Atharvaveda. The treatise describes ancient Indian tradition of surgery and remains a most brilliant compilation in Indian medical literature.

The treatise contains detailed descriptions of teachings and practice elucidated by this great ancient surgeon said to have been practicing in Varanasi. It also provides surgical knowledge that is of relevance to this day. As a pioneer in the field of surgery, Sushruta expounds prolifically on the healing arts that were grounded on physiology and medicine. He studied human anatomy with the help of dead bodies! Much as in medical colleges today.

The Samhita specifically describes methods for selecting and preserving dead bodies to be studied. Cadavers of elderly or severely diseased were not taken up for purposes of study. Bodies needed to be perfectly clean and were preserved with barks. They were placed in cages, hidden carefully in the river for currents to soften them. After seven days they were retrieved, cleaned with brushes for inner and outer body parts to be seen clearly.

Over 1100 diseases are mentioned in this ancient tome including 26 types of fevers, 8 kinds of jaundice and 20 different urinary disorders. There are 760 plants inclusive of roots, bark, juice, resin, flowers etc. that are described in detail for treatments. These also include common household remedies like cinnamon, sesame, peppers, cardamom, ginger and more. Additionally the treatise offers descriptions of 101 instruments used in surgery.

Sushruta’s greatest contributions were in the fields of plastic surgery and removal of cataracts. In a time when cutting of nose or ears was a common punishment, restoration of these parts and even limbs lost in wars was a common medical practice. There are detailed and accurate step-by-step descriptions of such operations. Strikingly these are the very steps followed by modern surgeons doing plastic surgery even today.

Serious procedures were undertaken like drawing fetuses out of wombs, repairing damaged rectums and removing stones from bladders. Surgical techniques included incisions, probing, extraction of foreign bodies, cauterization, tooth extraction, excisions, draining abscess, draining hydrocele, removal of prostate gland, urethral stricture dilatation, hernia surgery, management of haemorrhoids, fistulae, intestinal obstruction, perforated intestines, and accidental perforation of abdomen. Students were given knowledge of relevant branches of medicine to attain proficiency in allied subjects.

Sushruta Samhita remains an important text on medicine that is also a foundational text for Ayurveda. This seminal text was translated to Arabic as Kitab-i-Susrud in the 8th century. The Arabic translation was received in Europe by the end of the medieval period when Renaissance Italy became familiar with the techniques of Sushruta Samhita. Among other translations since then, more recently in 1999, P. V. Sharma undertook an English translation of this ancient Indian medical treatise.

First Surgeon Performing Plastic Surgery!

First Surgeon Performing Plastic Surgery!

The Saga of Medical Camps Going Wrong

Unfortunate Medical Camp - 60 People lose Vision

Unfortunate Medical Camp – 60 People lose Vision

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.

Chattisgarh Sterilization Camp Debacle

Chattisgarh Sterilization Camp Debacle

Wadamba Village – Forthcoming Venue for Meso Medical Health Camp

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Wadamba Village, the venue for the next meso camp organized by HERD Foundation, is about 75.2 km from Nagpur. Situated close-by, near to Highway Number 7 it takes an hour and a half to reach the place. Wadamba panchayat under Ramtek Inter panchayat comes under Nagpur-Zilla panchayat. The village is surrounded by Kurai Taluka towards North, Parseoni Taluka towards South, Bichhua Taluka towards west, and Mohadi Taluka towards South. Geo-coordinates for the place are latitude 18.114468 – longitude 73.095933.

Located close to Ramtek, other near-by villages include Warghat, Karwahi and Dahoda. It is about 27 kms from Ramtek with Tumsar, Kamthi and Savner some of the larger towns around having good enough road connectivity. Marathi remains the prevalent local language but Hindi is well understood. At an elevation of 332 meters above sea level, the closest railway station is 26 km away at Ramtek and Amdi Halt at a distance of 32 km.

Nagpur district has a network of government-run health facilities comprising of district hospitals offering tertiary-level care. The rural hospitals at the secondary level and the primary health centers, sub-centers and dispensaries provide basic healthcare to rural populations. Ramtek Taluka has government run health centers following the public healthcare system offering state-owned healthcare facilities to people that are either fully or partially subsidized.

But all of us who have worked at the grassroots for the benefit of the rural people – be it for education, healthcare, rural enterprises or any other beneficial scheme, know full well the fate of the outreach of such well laid plans. The best of us have had experiences of vacant PHCs, absentee health care staff, missing equipment and so on. Add to this people’s own apathy towards their good health! And the scene is rife for adverse health consequences.

HERD Foundation has chosen a self-appointed path to extend healthcare services to the rural populations at their doorsteps. With the close collaboration proffered by NKPSIMS and LMH Medical Institutes it becomes easier to facilitate health camps that check out people for common ailments and chronic conditions giving them medical advice, free medicines and referrals for dire conditions. It remains a matter of great satisfaction to see the people respond to our ministrations, especially in this inclement monsoon weather.

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Queuing Up In Advance

Nagardhan health camp

Nagardhan health camp 

The Nagardhan Medical Camp organised by us was a huge success. People had already arrived at the spot waiting patiently on their haunches since 1’0 clock in the afternoon. When our team arrived to set up the logistical arrangements at the venue we were pleasantly surprised to find a motley crew already assembled.

Without much ado the practiced team pitched up a mock hospital set up with ease of habit. We have done such health camps  earlier at Tamaswadi, Parseoni, Parsodi Peth, kerdi, bakhari, ambazari, Kolitmara, sihora, Kachurwahi, Parsodi, Pardi, Nagpur. So setting up the works was no hassle and soon the registrations counters were busy.

HERD Foundation began operations for this free camp in no time. Many people from adjoining villages of the Taluka had also come for the camp. The visitors included plentiful women as is common in our camps.  Also children and the elderly were brought in by family members to get them all checked and given free medicines for their different conditions.

The health camp started at 4:00 pm to continue well over 09: 00 pm at night providing free medical checkups to nearly 2400 registered people. An important feature of the camp was that besides active medical treatment it emphasised on the importance of proper hygiene and prevention measures especially in the ongoing monsoon season.

Eight medical departments of NKP Salve Institute of Medical Sciences and Lata Mangeshkar Hospital with a team of doctors, interns, nurses and attendants provided support to examine and treat the people. The medical and paramedical team of Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics, Orthopedics, Ophthalmology, Surgery, Dental and ENT Departments attended to patients who were mobilized from the localized villages around Nagardhan.

The camp was privileged by the presence of HERD Foundation founder Dr. Amol Deshmukh who along with field staff had organized the entire arrangements to make it such an overwhelming success. HERD Foundation’s chief social objective is medical relief for poor and needy. Dr. Amol Deshmukh continues to play a key role and in contributing for the medical welfare of people through provision of active medical treatment. He is a strong advocate for weaker sections to gain access to medical care, particularly those living in such remote rural areas.