Access to healthcare is a right that all of us need as a fundamental right. However, despite the grand developments in our country healthcare in rural areas cuts a sorry figure all across the nation. It is appalling that rural regions as yet remain deprived of necessary medical facilities, often infrastructure and medical staff as also non-availability of medicines. Medical support is clearly denied to nearly 60% of the rural population in India.
Nearly 700 million people in rural areas continue to live in deprivation of basic healthcare and medical relief. The situation is more deplorable because the fact is that government extension plans, processes and service schemes are in place but actual delivery is missing. This is a major dysfunctional gap that makes the picture very grim indeed. It’s a caring philanthropy through charities and non-governmental agencies that offers some succor to the rural residents cut away from modern medical benefits.
HERD Foundation has been organizing health camps in rural regions since the past three years. Offering practices and procedures in the isolated forest areas of Central India the Foundation has ensure healthcare delivery in deprived corners of the region. Starting with assistance by organizing mobile health camps we have successfully set up an effective outpost clinic that is affiliated to a partner hospital for referrals. A dedicated medical team serves the predominantly tribal people settled in the parts offering primary health care.
HERD Foundation is well aware that the country accounts for the largest number of maternity deaths. Medical fraternity knows for sure that in the rural areas maternal health care is very poor. Our approaches therefore include education camps where we instruct on the basics of mother and child care. Our health care modules include essential aspects in nutrition, hygiene, antenatal care and access to proper medical care.
Often due to non-availability of public health care rural residents have to scout for doctors and hospitals in urban centers. The travel and transport are an additional burden on beleaguered families. It is for this reason that HERD Foundation camps are flooded with patients since despite the token fee it is access to medications that is a big draw. Also because running to city based doctors is expensive the presence of a near-free health camp is a huge welcome relief.
HERD Foundation also works on teaching with regard to control and spread of diseases to reduce the rates of sick people. Again lack of health facilities has us paying special attention to the needs in rural areas. Taking on key challenges that include low quality of care, poor accountability, lack of awareness, and limited access to facilities we assist by providing access to referrals to like-minded hospitals.
There are very many ways in which we hope to extend the range of our services. We hope to include simple technologies like for instance mobile connectivity to cater to the needs of the villagers. By improving communication we may create systems that allow for additional outreach. We are hoping that mobile phones may in the near future offer extensive reach across the demography. This point was recently brought home to us and we will explore the possibilities.
People surrounding Dr Amol and Dr Suchika Deshmukh
To reach Pauni Tribal Clinic one drives down the seventy odd miles on National Highway 44 and in just about an hour and forty minutes you reach your destination. The straight line distance for most of the time may vary in actual travel distance due to curvature of the road. Driving up northward from Nagpur along the winding wooded landscape allows you to pass through lands rich with biodiversity of the region.
Pauni Clinic is not particularly an imposing medical center and the small clinic works well as a primary care clinic. However because it is situated in the heart of an outlying forest community it becomes a hub for forest people who are drawn to it from all around. It works well for the elderly, the children, the women and the sick adults who get treated for a range of ailments. It’s a reminder of the old-fashioned way of treating people!
As a rural clinical outpost of LMH medical center to which HERD Foundation is affiliated the rural populations who would normally struggle to find medical assistance, find it of immense value for being assisted with healthcare literally at their doorsteps, in a manner of speaking. With a trusted team of medics reaching thrice a week, it has been expanding its services.
HERE are some remarkable events that occurred at Pauni medical outpost that was basically intended to increase access to primary medical care. HERD Foundation remains clear that these remote rural locations must be served. So aside from conducting thrice a week diagnostic treatment services the team of medical professionals also concentrate on health awareness activities. Here are various events that took place in the past year.
- HIV Awareness Camp at Hiwra Bazar March 28, 2016
- Pap Smear and Cancer Detection Camp on April 1, 2016
- ASHA Workers Orientation Camp on April 26, 2016
- Breast Feeding Week Celebration on August 5, 2016
- School Health Scabies detection camp in Dahoda on 27 September 2016
- ASHA Workers Orientation Programme On Scabies at Hiwara Bazar PHC, November 26 2016
- Detection Of Malnutrition And Health Checkup Camp at Pauni Gram Panchayat on December 7, 2016
Activities are creatively undertaken by joining in with local gatherings so as to have a ready audience. For instance the HIV awareness camp conducted at Hiwra Bazar was clubbed with a get-together of the local Sharda Mahila Mandal. This then became an opportunity for the team to create awareness on the issue. The orientation of government aided ASHA health workers became an occasion to befriend them. It provided us with a foothold for BLS training for them. Similarly the Anganwadi workers too were incentivized for attending trainings.
NKPSIMS and HERD Foundation adopted the Community Initiative for Scabies Control and Elimination for all school children from class 1 to class 12 who were examined in two phases for scabies and other prevailing health conditions. Prompt treatment was administered to them along with free medications for their conditions. Dr Kasturwar, Prof. Community Medicine from NKPSIMS enlightened mothers on proper nutrition informing them that most nutrition supplementation and fortification was to be readily found in foods and ingredients locally available.
Thus apart from diagnosis and treatment of ailments, healthcare education is also an on-going activity conducted by the spirited team of doctors responsible for smooth running of Pauni Clinic.
Nagardhan health camp
Dulara ke Dulare
Dr Suchika and Amol Deshmukh at the Wadamba Medical Camp
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)
Ramtek Medical Camp – Sunday July 13, 2014
The poor in our country follow the health care system offered by state governments. Our Constitution makes it mandatory for States to raise “the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health” as part of its primary duties. But this is hardly happening save for token services. And so alongside the public health sector it is the more popular private medical sector which is actually used more. This is true both in urban and rural settings.
Our public health care sector appears to be for namesake only and it is really true that we do not have enough hospitals, doctors, medical staff, medicines or ambulance services available. We deplorably lack quality of care and accessibility to much needed medical care, especially for the poor. Mostly we are dependent on private medical care that is increasingly getting more unaffordable.
The planning commission which is on its way to being scrapped away soon, was involved in some way to regulate private health care providers. A report it came out with stated that “the transformation of India’s health system to become an effective platform is an evolutionary process that will span several years”. So access to quality medical care remains limited or unavailable especially in most rural areas.
Health issues in rural areas suffer from other maladies as well. Rural children below the age of three are found to be malnourished. Malnourishment is known to impede social and cognitive development of children reducing their educational and employment chances besides irreversibly affecting productivity. This aside we have also to contend with diseases like dengue fever, hepatitis, tuberculosis, malaria and pneumonia that are rampant. Poor sanitation and lack of safe drinking water are major issue affecting public health.
Rural India continues to live below the poverty line and it struggles for better and easy access to health care services. Having conducted continual health camps all through May to August 2014, HERD Foundation is well aware that health issues confront rural people in diverse forms. Dengue, malaria, uncontrolled diabetes, and badly infected wounds as also cancer are all part of the rural debilitating health scene. But the more serious underlying issue continues to be malnutrition, mother and child ill-health, anemia, sickle cell diseases and now increasingly psychiatric conditions.
Shri Arvind Raghuvanshi PSI, Nagpur Rural & Dr Amol Deshmukh At Deolapar Medical Camp
The medical camp organized at Deolapar on Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 was a true partnership between a state and civil society entity. Deolapar is a small town in the Nagpur district in Nagpur division of Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. Nagpur Rural Police and Herd Foundation partnered for an effective and efficient service health care delivery camp. Perhaps for the first time two distinctive players went ahead in a combined manner to provide assistance to ordinary rural people by following a coherent strategy to address important health issues like HIV/AIDS and de-addiction.
Once the formal programme was over, the open precincts of the Deolapar Police station became the venue for the health check up camp where nearly 40 medical staff from Lata Mangeshkar Hospital, Nagpur arranged an open air hospital set-up. The doctors began check-ups of the over 300 patients – men, women and children who lined up and the para-medic staff and sisters were soon busy proceeding for dispensing medicines accordingly. Nearly half the patient lineup included teenage boys and girls from schools who had been invited, as also more visitors from nearby villages.
HERD Foundation responded in a meaningfully manner with Dr Amol Deshmukh reaching out to the Government missive with a sense of responsibility keeping in mind our given role in the community. HERD Foundation continues to pursue the shared vision and common goals of social services in these areas and this was a great moment to hold hand with the Police Department for social development. The kind of affiliation that emerged in the course of the health care camp will go a long way in development of other inter-related programmes in the future.
One corner of the courtyard was reserved for extending information to truck drivers who had been invited. Specialist doctors explained the incidence, causes and prevention of HIV/AIDS to the at-a-time 30-35 adult group of people who sat at the meeting. Incidentally Deolapar sits right on the main road on the Highway and is surrounded by well known tourists spots and tourist resorts. It is located on the Maharashtra – Madhya Pradesh border on National Highway 7 which is the arterial road running from Uttar Pradesh to Tamil Nadu. It was the perfect spot to develop public awareness and education on HIV prevention, treatment and care.
The hands-on diabetes tests being conducted at the camp to give instant blood sugar readings was attracting adults to the counter where the examinations were being done. A few cases of severely escalated blood sugar readings of villagers were referred to the Hospital in Nagpur for further management of the disease. These people were also counseled for the future course of action to be taken. All the police personnel at the station also had their blood tests done to check for diabetic condition.
School Children and Youth Registration Prior to Check-ups