Diabetes Awareness, Gynaecology, Obstetrics, Paediatric Camps February 2014

The local community benefits from a comprehensive range of medical expertise afforded by four distinguished specialists.

Thursday the 6th of February saw the Haven Centre buzzing with activity as crowds of patients arrived from the early hours of dawn onwards. The scene was set in readiness for the four UK based consultants who had very kindly volunteered their services so that we were able to host this multi-disciplinary medical camp for the local villagers living in abject poverty. There is no other affordable healthcare available in the entire local district and, we have seen from the past, the life changing experience these medical camps can offer to those who are destitute.

As many of the villagers have to travel from long distances, Haven always ensures a plentiful lunch is served to all the patients and their families. In order to give the consultants a well earned break, aswell as help to relieve some of the tension from the day for the patients in their unfamiliar surroundings, we have made a tradition of putting on a performance of song and dance in our open central courtyard. This spectacle is enjoyed by all, including the children with disabilities who regularly visit our centre for their cruical physiotherapy treatments; they are invited to every one of our medical camps so they continually feel a part of the centre's activities. Many of the performances are enacted by the children from our learning centre and other older children from the local area.

Faced with severe time constraints, the camps HAD to run to schedule otherwise many of the patients would need to be turned away. In order for this not to happen, an industrious crew were continually at work in the background ensuring things ran efficiently and as planned. Our MBCF Youth Group members were joined by our Italian students, Benedetta and Alfredo who, at present, are residing at the centre to help with spoken English lessons aswell as many other projects they have taken on board. Together they organised the crowds, served lunch to over 500 people, helped with accurate patient profiling in the weeks beforehand and painstakingly updated our extensive databank of patient records immediately following each consultation of every patient from all four camps which is no small task! Haven would like to extend sincere gratitude for this cruical back up which helped pave the success of the day.

Our veteran consultant and now head of our medical board of UK based specialists, Professor Bimal Bhadhuri, returned for his third time to run the Paediatric Camp. With his gentle manner, he helped over 100 very ill children and pressed for 15 cases to be put forward for referral and further treatment. Professor Bhadhuri is extremely well regarded among his colleagues and peers and, as a direct result of this, he has been able to recruit more members to our medical board, thereby enhancing the range of expertise we are now able to offer the local population of Atla and the surrounding areas.

Two such recruits, thanks to Professor Bhadhuri's heartfelt endeavours in support of Haven's cause, are husband and wife team Drs Mita and Ashis Sau. They arrived for their very first time to the Haven Centre to offer their highly regarded expertise in the fields of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, respectively. Patient feedback from both of these these camps have wowed Haven members! The two fields of medicine are ones that, more often than not, require the utmost sensitivity on the part of the consultant as the patients invariably have to face very difficult and distressing answers to their many questions.

Drs Mita and Ashis Sau proved more than able to deal with with such delicate issues in a most professional yet calming way. All the women were treated with respect and a high level of expert care and, whether their consultations ended positively or negatively, the women knew they had been given the best possible treatment available. Together, the two specialists managed to help nearly 100 women and requested 12 cases for referral.

With his dynamic approach to raising awareness of Diabetes, Dr Sunil Roy, another colleague of Professor Bhadhuri's, had put together a highly illuminating presentation for the local villagers. With informative drawings and charts, Dr Roy was most successful in getting the message across to people who have very little knowledge or understanding to guage the signs of this potentially life threatening condition. His affable personality allowed the villagers to feel at ease and they found him to be most approachable. So much so, that he was continually asked questions throughout his presentation by his attentive audience. They were most taken aback at how easily this disease could be brought on mostly through their own lack of care for their dietary intake. They all listened carefully and even made notes of all the tell-tale signs to look out for. For those of us who had a chance to observe Dr Roy during his talks on this, his very first visit to the Haven Centre, it was a heartwarming experience to see adult education of the highest calibre take place in the depths of rural India.

Haven would like to thank this amazing quartet of enthusiaistic specialists for their generosity and kindness. Throughout their time at the Haven Centre, they approached every undertaking with sincerity and professionalism. Their ability to adapt so easily to the unfamiliar environment they found themselves in and just get on with the all important task in hand was simply marvellous to witness. All of us, including the patients, will long remember their strong conviction to duty and their great sense of humour which helped ease the stresses from an extremely long day. We very much hope that they all make return visits as it has been a privilege to welcome such expert support for Haven and, in turn, provide much needed hope for countless numbers of people who have the misfortune of not being able to help themselves.

Our final and biggest thanks must go to the loyal staff and volunteers of MBCF for their steadfast support allowing Haven to continue its essential work on the ground in rural India.

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