Scio Foundation, Manipal held a week-long awareness program, Conscientia from 6th December to 12th December to commemorate Universal Health Coverage Day. 12th December is Universal Health Coverage Day and is promoted by WHO. It aims to raise awareness about the different forms of healthcare, and how to increase reach, affordability, and accessibility. The theme of UHC Day 2021 was “Leave No One’s Health Behind: Invest in Health Systems For All.”
The program was held with the motive of raising awareness about different aspects of healthcare and how students could help increase the awareness and accessibility of healthcare. Scio Foundation, Manipal also got featured in the global heatmap on the official page of Universal Health Coverage Day, promoted by WHO, for Conscientia.
Day 1: Red Wave (Awareness about Menstrual Health)
Scio Foundation, in collaboration with ‘Cause You Can NGO, held a session to raise awareness about menstrual health. The conversation around menstruation is always kept under wraps, just like the sanitary pads wrapped in black polythene or newspapers at the chemist stores. Doing this does nobody any favors. Thus to tackle the lack of awareness, Dr. Anusha Venkatesh hosted a session to talk about female reproductive health, the basics of menstruation, the myths and taboos surrounding the topic, and how change can be brought about. The session was followed by a Q/A session from the audience members.
Day 2: Sign Up For Change (Awareness about Healthcare Facilities available to those differently-abled, with focus on the Deaf Community)
Scio Foundation got the chance to interact with Ms. Saudamini Pethe, who is the first Deaf Woman (DLAW Fellow) pursuing law in India. She aspires to use her law degree to raise awareness in India about the importance of sign language for the Deaf community. According to her, communication barriers and lack of proper information have resulted in members of the community often feeling left out. The major challenge in seeking healthcare is accessibility. Right to information isn’t fulfilled because of no communication access in the form of sign language interpreters being provided. There is a lack of awareness and legal regulations that could make life easier. She also provided students resources which they could go through to increase their knowledge and awareness levels.
Day 3: Accessing Transgender Healthcare and Accessing Asexual Healthcare. (Awareness about Healthcare Facilities available to members of LGBTQIA+ Community)
An awareness program giving an insightful understanding of Asexual Health was conducted by the Scio foundation on December 8, 2021. It was held on Zoom. Dr. Pragati Singh was the chief guest of the event. She is a very well-experienced doctor who has practiced in the field of asexual health for years. From sharing knowledge about this sexual orientation to clearing up misconceptions regarding the same, the event covered it all. It indeed piqued our know- how’s regarding romanticism and asexuality, acceptance in society, and various other concerns. In the end, participants got to clear their doubts while gaining a valuable understanding regarding the same. Overall it was a very enlightening and well-managed event.
The Scio Foundation Manipal organized a talk on ‘Trans Care and Health’ on 8th December 2021 as part of an ongoing talk series. The guest speaker invited was an eminent Transgender Healthcare activist and a medical Doctor, Dr. Aqsa Shaikh. The hosts warmly welcomed her to the event and the interview commenced soon after. To start things off, she was asked to narrate her story and her journey so far. Dr. Aqsa shares the problems she used to face since childhood and how she couldn’t fit into the norms a cisgender heterosexual person was supposed to fit. After graduating from medicine she moved to Delhi to pursue a career, where she decided that to face the world, she had to be who she really was and hence, transitioned. She advocates that current medical students should become self-aware of these issues since knowing how to treat a person from the community is a basic necessity. Dr. Aqsa strongly feels that effective change can only come from the bottom-up approach i.e from the students, doctors to the authorities, and only then can the country head towards a gender-inclusive healthcare system. The session ended with the hosts thanking the speaker and the patient audience which could make this novel event a success.
Day 4: Awareness on Type 1 Diabetes
A discussion on Type 1 Diabetes was conducted on 9 December on Instagram live by the Scio foundation. The speaker, Jazz Sethi, founder, and director of The Diabesties Foundation, talked about her personal battles and differences in life, which she has faced due to her being a Diabetes patient (Type 1). She busted myths and spoke about the need for awareness, at the medical, as well as societal level. She talked about the stigma and misinformation around the disease and spoke avidly about changing and minimizing such inconveniences for all diabetes-afflicted people.
Day 5: Mind Your Words (Awareness About Mental Health)
“Mind Your Words” was an event organized by the Scio foundation and held on December 6th, 2021. The session conducted was to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and to address the difficulty in accessing the same. The speaker for the session was Ms. Aashna, a medical student and the event head for Khairyat Wellness Foundation. The session covered topics like why mental health is still taboo, myths related to therapy, common mental health issues among students, among others. The session ended with the participants being offered the chance to participate in an anonymous “Listening Circle” where they could share whatever they wanted without any judgment.
Day 6: More Power To You (Awareness About Cancer)
Scio Foundation in collaboration with Power of Ponytails held a session to raise awareness for early screening in cases of Breast Cancer. Khushi Gupta from Scio welcomed Neha Anand, a 33 Year Old Cancer Survivor. She shared her story and talked about how during her treatment she tested positive for the BRCA2 gene which increases 70-80% chances of developing breast cancer and 48-50% chances of developing Ovarian Cancer. She recalled that when her father tested positive for pancreatic cancer, she was advised to undergo testing for BRCA2 gene which at the time, she didn’t consider necessary. Early diagnosis would’ve made a huge difference and saved people from the pain and hassle after being diagnosed, says Neha. Bhavya Mehta from Power of Ponytails covered signs, symptoms, and early self-examination for Breast Cancer. The session ended with the host thanking everyone for their participation.
Day 7: Life Cycle and Senectus (Awareness about Physical Fitness and Geriatric Healthcare)
Scio foundation, Manipal, organized an online session with Mr. Ganesh Nayak, assistant professor at MIT, on December 12, 2021, at 6 PM, commemorating the Universal Health Coverage Day. Mr. Nayak spoke about his experiences as he propelled his journey towards a healthier lifestyle, his passion for the outdoors, and various accomplishments in the academic and sports sectors alike. It was an enlightening talk highlighting the importance of integration of physical activity in our bustling lives and avoiding the harmful yet addictive coping mechanisms during moments of weakness.
In collaboration with IAGSC (Indian Academy of Geriatrics, Student Chapter), Scio Foundation conducted Senectus, a geriatric healthcare quiz. The quiz was held to bring to light the fact that India has a large geriatric population and yet dedicated healthcare facilities for the same are missing. There are no specialized training programs nor are there mentions in the medical curriculum. The quiz covered different diseases affecting the elderly and the funds raised during the quiz will be used to buy food, medicines, and clothes for the underprivileged elderly across the country. Participants had fifteen minutes to fill in the answers to the best of their knowledge.
Written by MTTN Crew
Featured Image by Scio Foundation