Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Medical Camp for children

Hello friends…

This turns up to be one of the most important events for LEAD. Important in two senses: First, of course, the health of our children. And secondly being building up the stronger bond with the families in these communities.

Heres the link that will take you to the snaps:

Preparations started almost 2 weeks back, when we had the meeting with Dr.Kartik (physiotherapist), Dr.Malti (Anaesthist) & Dr. Nitin (Dentist) on Sunday 17th May for this event. Dr. Pravin (General physician) & Dr. Gitanjali (child specialist) were later updated with the discussions. Thanks to NHP school teachers cum LEAD volunteers -- Archana & Anupa for inspiring Dr.Malti & Dr.Gitanjali respectively for this camp. Ramesh really did some good work here like noting down the discussions, requirements, preparing the format, updating the doctor, etc.
We thought of booking the larger sector-3 NMMC community centre (our republic day event hall) for this. So I made an application to the corporator. Meanwhile we got the idea of organizing this event in a school to do away with the pains of chairs & tables, etc.
Then Archana took the extra efforts along with Richa for convincing the school principal regarding this. Special Thanks to Mrs. Kuldeep, HM, NHP School for providing not only the school space & all other basic infrastructure needed for the camp.
I & Arun informed Sathey Nagar families & then joined Kailash for the Sector-17 work. However, due to then Airoli gaav problems, we could intimate them only a day before that too at about 8.30 pm! Ramesh, Archana & Richa too joined us for this. Arun & Kailash had to then immediately rush for Sec-3. All the families were supposed to gather at our centre at 2 pm while the volunteers at NHP School at 1.30pm.
Despite detailed prior-announcements, we still had to do the field work on the same day, as usual, when none of the Sec-3 families turned up. Fortunately we could meet the mothers & get them to the venue. Ganesh’s mother was busy packing up the stuff for their 10 day visit to native place. We somehow convinced her to spare half an hour for the health of her children. While in Airoli-gaav, Einnetti’s mother insisted to go for work rather than check-up. But thank god we can pull this mother of 2 girls & a toddler. Sector-17, which happens to be LEAD’s strength, again demonstrated their faith on us as almost all the mothers arrived on time with their children. Sania took charge in the centre while Arun, I, Pulkit & Ramesh started shifting mats, water glasses, empty bottles, decoration material, etc from center to school. Meanwhile Richa, Archana, Kamlesh & Vishal had already started with all the arrangements in the school. The best part -- Ramesh’s children Kumaresh & Bhakti too joined us helping out in almost all the activities during the event be it decoration, queuing up the children for the 1st doctor or manufacturing of eco-friendly paper-bags for the health-cum-hygiene kit (Soap, Tooth paste, Banana, Parle-G Biscuits) given to every child. Ramesh proudly announced on Saturday that we should not use polythene bags & cleverly passed this job to his poor children ;-) These wonderful children tried to make up for the absence of Kailash’s children Manisha & naughty Golu, but we did miss our all-time junior volunteers.
This time Kailash went a step ahead & arranged for a brand new LCD TV (Thanks to his friend Kundan) & his DVD player for entertaining (managing!) the children while they wait for their check-up turn. Archana purchased 3 DVDs of Hindi & English stories with good morals. Kailash was not sure for the event but then he soon made a dashing entry with immediately wiring up the mess of connections that even the engineers like me, Arun & Pulkit were unable to do after racking our heads for quiet a long time ;-)
Richa handled the Xeroxing work (of health checkup formats), Ramesh got the bananas & health scale, I ordered the samosas & ice-creams, Pulkit got the wafers & paper-plates from Mulund (the discounted ones!), Nina arranged for the examination gloves & mask, & Arun got the soaps & tooth pastes (He is waiting to share his wonderful shopping experiences ;-) Things went bit gloomy when Dr. Kartik ringed up apologizing for his absence due to a sudden death in his family. We can take up his part later may be with his wife’s counseling part but the worrying part was Weight scale, that he was supposed to bring. I immediately called up Dr.Gitanjali & she tried her best but in vain. Thanks to Dr.Pravin, we could do the ‘jugaad’ of weight scale & his stethoscope with the help of a doctor from Indravati Hospital. Dr.Pravin also deserves a special applause as he directly came from his OPD for the camp without taking his lunch. He also missed some of his very important calls from OPD during the checkup.
One more interesting incident is the sudden disappearance of Dr.Nitin (dentist) 3 days before the camp. Not reachable! Sunday morning, I did some hunting for the dentist & could luckily get the number of Dr.Nilesh. I explained him about us, the camp & the problem, but still he was on two minds about this. I again SMSed him our website details & then he called me up for face-face meet at his clinic at 1.45. Arun joined me & said, “Don’t worry, this is not an uncommon situation for us now & we will get him.” & it was done! But really special thanks to him to rescue us at the right time. He is a very polite & humble guy, who immediately left for his next appointments after the camp without having any refreshments.
Families had already started arriving at the school now from centre; Richa, Sania & others managed this nicely. Eyes totally wide-open at the 21 inch LCD TV, children rushed in for the first row while the mothers comfortably occupied the last ones with their babies. What caught my attention later was Raja’s mother having a nice nap while waiting for her turn ;-) Chairs & Tables were arranged such that every child will have to complete a circle for her/his complete check-up by 4 doctors. Starting with height & weight checks (Sania, Richa & junior volunteers), they were again routed back to the entertainment zone for their turn. Kailash too carefully guarded the entrance point of check-up (Dr. Pravin), while Archana took up the final position to file up the health reports & prescriptions given by doctors. No doubt, traffic got jammed at the counters of Dr.Pravin & Dr.Gitanjali. Doctors patiently examined the children & inquired their mothers for further details/problems. Children of course too this as another event but we could make out some success of this initiative from the relief on the mothers’ faces.
Some of the scenes still flashes around in front of my eyes- Arun rushing out for the torch, Ganesh’s mother in total hurry to finish off fast, children hanging around on the stairs, we running behind them, Children insisting on ‘Bhoot ka picture’ & then again complaining that there is no bhoot when we put up the new movie, children almost on a non-stop mode for cold water & toilets- literally keeping our volunteers on toes, etc.. And in the midst of all these-- Kumar, Sandhya & Pranay requesting me time & again for sparing few minutes with them for LEAD! This is the team from Youth Venture who had come all the way from Bandra to shoot a small minute video for LEAD!! Sounds great na? This will help us a lot. Archana had invited her dad & cousin too for the event. Thanks to Kumar & this guy for taking some snaps of the event, or else we wouldn’t have anything! Beena too made up this time & assisted in all the activities around. Mr. Padale, who has recently joined us, thanks to the senior citizen meet attended by me & Arun, also volunteered for the event. My colleague Daizy & her husband Dipesh also joined us with a bag of clothes from Ghatkopar! Am sure they had a nice time with our bacchha-log ;-)
Meanwhile some of the parents started getting restless due to the long waiting list & so I, Ramesh & Arun zoomed out for getting the snacks (“No ice-creams please!”, aired the voices around) while others fattaa-fatt kept the dishes ready with wafers. The families who had done with the checkup & snacks were made to leave with the health cum hygiene kit in every child’s hand. Thanks to Rahul & Nishant who geared up for this work as soon as they joined in. Some of the mothers started inquiring what about the ‘doctor’s paper’? We explained that we will get back to them very soon with proper description. Doctors too started making their moves when Archana gifted them with a Thank-you greeting card along with a token of love (pen). The purchase & decoration was also handled by her itself. Rahul & Kailash are trying to get this event covered in some local print so as to create some awareness about LEAD. (We still need lot of human resources!!!!)
Finally it was time for our pet-pooja now… but again, as usual, no samosas, no wafers for volunteers…I got the garam vadaa-paavs & thandaaa Fanta.!! Hope that would have pushed the car till our homes… at least in reserve ;-)
It was 6 pm & we relived some of the volunteers after cleaning the place & rearranging the stuff. After returning the TV with Kailash, Arun joined me, Rahul, Nishant & Krishanu to replace back the materials at our centre. Krishanu is our new volunteer who began his first day with such a wonderful event. He plans to come all the way from Powai every weekend & will also try to encourage some of his colleagues that are part of the company-CSR to volunteer for LEAD. After explaining him a lot about the directions for Powai, I was still worried (looking at his face), weather I helped him or confused him? ;-) Krishanu, did you reach properly?

The serious note with which we ended was that the end of this medical camp marks the beginning of more important work for LEAD volunteers! (This reminds me of our words… “After admitting these children to the school, our work actually began!”)
Yes friends, there is nothing great in organizing a medical camp. Definitely sounds good to tell outsiders about this event… to get a pat on our back...or to pull in some funds… But I am sure all of us remember that this is not at all our motive. We have clearly discussed this while planning for this event. Our work begins now!!
We need to give the prescriptions back to the families after photocopying them, read the health reports of all the children carefully, explain even these to all the parents, may be we will have to sit with concerned doctors before this, guide them if at all there are some costly check-ups/ tests/ scans & more importantly follow-up regularly with all these families about the status of treatment. Only the feedback of these families through their health & words will decide if this event was a success or a failure…..!!!!

I have Xeroxed all the reports & prescriptions. Kailash has already donated some amount for this & even Kaustubh has given some suggestions.

So gear up friends….its time to again sit together & discuss carefully so that we ourselves don’t wash out our efforts, time & money!

PS: Archana has taken a good lead in taking the feedback from all the volunteers regarding the event. Hope this will help us rectify some of our mistakes in the coming event. Please reply to her email ASAP.


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