The Idukki district of North Kerala is located about 132 km from the Amrita Health Sciences Campus in Kochi. But that doesn’t deter a group of dedicated young physicians from Amrita who travel to this tribal hamlet every month to conduct a free medical camp.
“Bringing medical care to these far-reaching places at the grass root level is a challenge, but that is what we at Amrita, have been trying to do, with the inspiration of our beloved Chancellor Amma,” says Br. Dr. Jaggu, who has participated in most of these medical camps.
Dr. Jaggu is often accompanied by Dr. Sundeep, Dr. Gopi and Dr. Jagathlal, physicians at the Amrita School of Medicine. Often other doctors and interns, especially from the Department of Community Medicine, join along.
On January 17, 2010, a camp was conducted in Anthoniyar Colony, a tribal settlement in Idukki. A group of six doctors, accompanied by paramedical staff, rendered care to about 300 tribal patients. Medicines were distributed free of cost to all.
“The doctors who accompanied us were specialists in various disciplines,” stated Dr. Gopi. “About 17 patients were identified to have serious medical conditions. They were referred to the AIMS for further treatment.”
On November 22, 2009, a medical camp was conducted in Kanthaloor, another tribal settlement in Idukki. In addition to seeing tribal patients, the Amrita doctors also screened about 60 school children, both boys and girls, staying in a tribal hostel, for communicable diseases.
The Amrita medical team visited two nearby tribal colonies to provide palliative care to chronic bed-ridden patients. About 15 patients were identified to have serious medical illnesses and were referred to AIMS for further management.
“The vast majority of people living in these high ranges are basically farmers,” stated Dr. Anirudh, intern in the Dept of Community Medicine, who also accompanied the Amrita team. “They suffer from anemia, viral fever and fungal infections; life style diseases such as hypertension and obesity are uncommon.”
Known as the Spices District of Kerala, Idukki is a place far away from the busy streams of people, traffic and technology. People here live in harmony with nature, without harming the ecosystem and the natural habitats of the wild flora and fauna.
“Interacting with the people and community leaders gave us valuable information into their life and provided them with valuable support to attain a healthy, hygienic environment to live in,” added Dr. Vivek, also an intern at Amrita.
All medical camps were organized in collaboration with the Amrita Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) in Idukki, an initiative that works to bring vocational training opportunities to the tribal population. Swami Jnanamritananda Puri, Chairman, JSS Idukki, blessed the camps with his presence.
January 23, 2010
Health Sciences Campus, Kochi