Gynaecology and Orthopaedic Camps January 2013

Patients receive medical expertise of the highest order as two distinguished consultants volunteer their considerable specialist skills

On the 15th of January, just ten days after our first medical camp of 2013, another group of volunteers met on the platform of Howrah Station in Kolkata to catch the 6am train to Atla Village. The programme ahead of us was an ambitious one and we all knew that the day was going to be very long. On arrival at the centre, we would have just five hours to conduct two vitally required medical camps, discuss all patient referrals and their necessary treatments, collate all patient information for our databank, and take the children from our Learning Centre on their very first outing. All this before catching the 5.30pm train back to Kolkata! It was no wonder that none of us could relax, the adrenalin was pumping and tensions were high. Would the day be a success? This was the question on all of our minds as we travelled through the countryside of West Bengal. Our visiting consultants, Drs Sheela and Sudipta Purkayastha, were making the journey to the Haven Centre for the very first time. They were accompanied by Pradeep Gooptu, MBCF Trustee; Nandita Ghosh, Haven and MBCF supporter; and Shumi Ghosh, Haven member. A mass of faces greeted us upon our arrival at the centre, faces full of hope and expectation. Patients were lined up and waiting, and, being true professionals, both consultants wasted no time. After meeting the MBCF medical staff who would be assisting them and a quick cup of tea, the camps began in earnest.

Dr Sheela Purkayastha, consultant Gynaecologist, with her own Harley Street practice in the UK, has over 40 years experience in her specialist field. She is passionate about womens health promotion and her aim is to raise health awareness among women as she firmly believes prevention is better than cure. She sees women from all backgrounds, treating minor ailments to  more serious gynaecological problems with modern techniques. Her language skills are impressive and she is fluent in Bengali, Urdu, Farsi and English as she likes to communicate with them directly. The Gynaecology camp was a resounding success. Dr Sheela Purkayastha helped 35 women with unbelievable levels of care and compassion. Her command of Bengali allowed the patients to fully open up and speak freely about their distressing conditions. In return, she was able to make them completely understand the treatment that they would require. All of this was of great comfort and, for the first time, the women plucked up courage to request a return visit from a truly wonderful doctor! The MBCF medical team assisting did a tremendous job and played their part in ensuring the Gynaecology camp ran smoothly. In all, there were six patient referrals and Haven will ensure the necessary treatments take place quickly.

Dr Sudipta Purkayastha is a consultant Orthopaedic surgeon and has been practising in the UK for the last 33 years. With a keen interest in teaching and training he has given lectures worldwide and has trained many orthopaedic surgeons who are now established consultants. He is an Honorary visiting Professor at Imperial College, University of London and is highly regarded throughout  the medical and academic communities nationally and internationally. With his excellent diagnostic skills, the Orthopaedic camp was conducted most efficiently and Dr Sudipta Purkayastha was able to help 52 patients. Being fluent in Bengali proved to be instrumental in aiding the comfort of many during their consultations. His considerate and caring manner allowed all the patients to feel completely at ease. He was assisted throughout by Tarok, MBCF Physiotherapist, who, with his good local knowledge, provided helpful support. Five patients have been put forward for referral and all efforts will be made by Haven to complete the required treatments in good time.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, 25 children from the Learning Centre had been whisked off for a grand day out. Excitement began early with the chance to ride in minibuses, something they rarely get to do. It took us half an hour to reach our destination, a beautiful white temple surrounded by lush green paddy fields. After the children had dutifully paid their respects, smiles and laughs broke out as they began to notice the huge spaces within the temple grounds that would be perfect for running around in. One such space was an enormous marble floored room which caused the children to pause, examine and quickly work out how to get the most fun from this very unfamiliar surface. Soon there were children everywhere, some sliding, some rolling, and some even managing to skate in their socks! Finally when they had calmed down, we moved to a shady corner of a big open courtyard and rolled out the picnic rugs for lunch. The day was meant to be one of new experiences for the children, and lunch was no exception. The menu consisted of cheese and cucumber sandwiches, among other things, and ended with a desert of huge chocolate doughnuts! Such unfamiliar items, that it took them a while to figure out how they were going to eat such things. The children enjoyed their day out so much, we found it difficult to get them back in the minibuses when it was time to leave!

A long day it had certainly been, but what was important was that everything we had set out to do had all been achieved; now, a satisfied team could relax. Throughout the entire time, Drs Sheela and Sudipta Purkayastha  worked tirelessly to bring comfort and care to some of the most impoverished people in the world.  We would like to thank them for their amazing generosity and time. It has been a privilege for Haven to welcome such wonderful support for the charity.

Our biggest thanks to Team MBCF and all the volunteers who worked so hard throughout the whole time to provide the essential support that made the entire day a huge success for Haven.





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