Primary Health Care Camp

Susanne and I had hardly arrived in Santiniketan when we were ingaged in Primary Health Care Camp. The German pediatrician Dr. Monika Golembiewski who has been supporting surrounding villages medicaly for many years, had given us the contact of a good friend, Mr. Chakraborty. We met him and as we are being guided around, someone called him during our conversation. He was informed that a Primary Health Care Camp was going to be held in a village approx. 10 km from here. Some of the doctors initially planned to take part could not come, so I suddenly found myself committed.
So the next day, Susanne and I found ourselves behind a desk with a translator at our side and a long queue waiting for us outside.
The Camp was financed by a Hindu NGO. The physicians came from the nearby Sub-District Hospital into Siang. So I had the chance to meet the Medical Superintendant and and organize a visit in the next couple of days to the hospital.
The area covered by the Camp included ten villages with altogether 6000 inhabitants, of whom about 400 patients were seen by us with four physicians present. We saw very many patients with diahorrea, malnutrition, particularly many worm infections with children, otitis, flu symptoms, urinary tract infections, arthritis in old women and many unspecfic pain syndromes. We had a limited selection of medicines at our disposal, which were given out directly in the Camp on our prescription. We referred some patients to the hospital for further investigation.
What touched us, was a mother who came to us with her 12 year old daughter, who was suffering from a spastic syndrome and is mentally disabled. The mother told us that this had begun suddenly at the age of five. She had consulted several physicians, but none of the medicine helped. When I told here that her daughter would need her assistance and support for her entire life, I saw tears in the eyes of this 30 year old woman. I was the first to tell her!

Elias, Santiniketan, 29 September 2005