The Community Development Committee (CDC) of MAPS, MCOPS organised a health camp in the Bijapur slum in association with the Department of Community Medicine, KMC on the 24th of September, 2017. A total of 152 patients were attended to and many more were counselled by the volunteering pharmacists.
The event commenced with the volunteers going door to door, and counselling people on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of common diseases. Patient information leaflets regarding primary treatment in the cases of UTIs, fever, diarrhoea and wounds were distributed. “We’re here to spread awareness about hygiene and the importance of early diagnosis of diseases,” said Benitta Matthew, the Secretary of the CDC, “and we’re really pleased with the turnout.”
Her sentiments were echoed by the Joint Secretary, Rupal Aroza who noted “We can not only help the people here, but the epidemiological information we gather shall also further help us understand the kind of medical attention slum dwellers require.”
The Department of Community Medicine set up stations to test the patients’ BMI, blood pressure and blood glucose level in addition to the general practitioners that were examining the patients. Most children were malnourished and showed signs of anaemia, along with various dermatoses and parasitic infestations. The primary complaint among adults were dental caries and joint pain. The two members of faculty from MCOPS present were Dr. Kanav Khera and Dr. Girish Thunga who remarked that it was their duty, as members of the Department of Pharmacy practice to provide affordable access to healthcare wherever it may be required.
In the midst of all the suffering and agony we happened to meet a particularly optimistic lad. Subramanya, barely 10 years old, seemed really excited at the prospect of this health camp. He ran around, bringing his friends and neighbours, encouraging the parents and bribing the children with the prospect of samosas to get themselves examined.
However, lest you think hope is a quality that only remains in the kids of Bijapur, we also met an elderly woman (who insisted she be referred to as Amma), who earnestly thanked the organizers for their efforts, but left most people teary eyed with what she said next, [Translated] “These kids help us a lot, and I know they mean well. They find time to come and help us and our children, and for that I am grateful. The doctors were very nice to me and told me which medicines I needed to take but I didn’t want to tell her that there was no way I could afford them. So all I could hope for, is if someone would help us with that.”
As the hours went by, the children of the slum were fascinated at the sight of an ‘amazing’ object that they’d never seen before. “It’s like a piece of the cloud” [translated] said a young boy, about a roll of cotton. The disparity between the metropolitan lifestyles we are used to and the troubles these little ones faced couldn’t have been more evident. The event concluded once all the patients were attended to, and spanned a total of four hours. The organizers and most of the beneficiaries considered it to be a great success.
– Written by Ashutosh Sinha