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India Calling: NRI Doctors respond to rural India’s distress

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AAPI_Leaders_AT_Yale_University_ YSR__-R-2014-09-24(1)

By Meghna

 

The rural health care in India has always been in a sorry state. The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) did four studies  in rural Alamarathupatti, Samiyarpatti and Pillayar Natham in the state of Tamil Nadu and another in the village of Karakhadi, in the state of Gujarat some years ago, and found that not only were the people living in rural areas ignorant about common lifestyle disorders like diabetes and hypertension, but they were also deprived of access to quality health care and knowledge of basic sanitation practices.

AAPI, essentially a body of Indian doctors settled in the US started the project ‘SEVAK’ in 2010 on a pilot basis in Karakhadi village, and over the years, it’s reported that it has covered all villages within the 26 districts of the state.

Dubbed as an extremely successful rural health care model, SEVAK is the brainchild of Dr. Thakor Patel, AAPI member and a specialist in nephrology and internal medicine. The concept of SEVAK is based on the Independent Duty Corpsman (IDC) in the US Navy. Dr. Thakor Patel was associated with the US Navy for 23 years and during this period he has also served as the director of IDC.

The IDCs are high school graduates who undergo a training of one year during which they are trained in providing primary health care to Marine Corps units or Navy Ships. In addition to this, they are also responsible for managing disasters, ensuring preventive care of sailors along with conducting environmental checks such as humidity, temperature and sanitation.

The sevaks are responsible for providing holistic healthcare to their respective villages.

“The design of this project was based on one person per village per district of Gujarat for a total of 26 individuals — that is sevaks. Upon selection, these individuals underwent health training in Vadodara,” Dr. Patel said. Following this, they were sent back to their villages to discharge their duties.

The project is looking at a possible expansion into 100 villages. The project was started in Gujarat with the support of the state government and Local partners like the Bharatiya Seva Samaj (which is overseeing the project), and the Maharaja Sayajirao University in Vadodara.

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A person should have at least passed 12th standard in order to become a sevak. A Sevak should be a permanent resident of his/her village. Women who will remain in their villages for a long period are eligible to become a sevak.

A sevak is responsible for the complete basic health care of his/her village. This includes conducting basic health checkups and screening of diseases like diabetes and hypertension. They will also be responsible for monitoring high-risk population for various diseases and patients with chronic disease who are on treatment.

Not just this, but the task of educating the village people about healthy lifestyle and preventive care is also to be dispensed by the sevak.

Sevaks are an important link in the chain of healthcare. They connect the rural folk to the health care experts.

“Special cases are referred to city hospitals and in some cases sevaks accompany the patient. The cost is borne by the project,” explains Dr. Patel.

One of the benchmarks by which the performance of the sevaks is measured is the sanitation of the villages. One of the variables is the number of toilets in the villages and since the inception of the project, the number of toilets in the sevak villages have increased.

Monitoring the Sevak project

“The state of Gujarat was divided into four zones: North, south, central and west, with a coordinator for each. The base education requirement for the coordinator was a bachelor’s degree. As the coordinator their job is to go to each village once a month and go over the work done by the local sevak, collect the data in an excel file, and email it to me. The data is then sent to Dr. Ranjita Misra*, who compiles the information into statistics. In addition, Dr. Padmini Balagopal* creates the lifestyle modification education program for the sevak,” Dr. Patel explains.

After the success of the first leg of Sevak project in Gujarat, the AAPI in collaboration with Dr Rahul Jindal, a transplant surgeon in Washington, New York-based philanthropist, George Subraj have launched the programme in rural areas of Guyana also.

rediff
credits: rediff.com

To develop in cohesion, as a nation, we need to cater to the rural population more. The rural-urban dichotomy is a serious issue and steps need to be undertaken to bring the rural India at par with its urban counterpart. Sevak project is an initiative which attempts to take steps towards this issue. More projects on similar lines need to be brought about to revolutionize Indian society.

 

(* both the doctors are members of the AAPI)

 

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Donald Trump Planning to meet Putin during his Asia tour

Donald Trump's first trip to Asia is the longest international tour.

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US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump. wikimedia commns
  • US President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he expected to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during his Asia tour.

“I think it’s expected we’ll meet with Putin, yeah. We want Putin’s help on North Korea, and we’ll be meeting with a lot of different leaders,” Donald Trump told reporters on Air Force One before landing at the Yokota Air Base in Japan, Efe reported.

Putin is scheduled to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, which Trump will also attend as part of his long Asia tour.

The North Korean nuclear threat is expected to dominate Donald Trump’s meetings in Japan and the next two stages of his tour, South Korea and China, where he will have a highly anticipated sit-down with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The remainder of the tour will be more focused on economic issues, with Trump scheduled to take part in the APEC meeting in Da Nang and then in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and the East Asia Summit in the Philippines.

Donald Trump’s first trip to Asia is the longest international tour by a US head of state since the one then-President George H.W. Bush embarked on in 1992.

Bush became ill at the end of that trip, famously vomiting on the Japanese prime minister’s lap at a formal dinner before fainting.(IANS)

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Andhra Pradesh Janmabhoomi Project: 51 NRIs Help Tribal Village Kothavalasa in Developing a Space Fostering Sports Facilities

Sports Facility for a tribal village has been inaugurated by AP Janmabhoomi project which involves contribution of 51 NRIs

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AP Janmabhoomi rural project.

Andhra Pradesh, Sep 27, 2017: Kothavalasa, a tribal village near Araku saw an influx of sporting enthusiasts wailing and whistling in joy as a result of the ‘Tribal Development Project’ that got executed in less than 20 days.

With a vision to bridge NRIs to their native land, India’s Sunrise State, AP Janmabhoomi has spread its wings by launching various campaigns revolving around the holistic development of the rural public. AP Janmabhoomi’s prime focus areas include creating – Digital Classrooms, Anganwadi Centres & Crematoriums.

Before leveling the land
Girls playing throwball after leveling the land

Kothavalasa, of Dumbriguda Mandal, Vishakhapatnam District happened to be their first integrated Tribal Development Project. The Special Representative for North America, the team that is actively involved in this mission, after pondering upon various ways to impact the lives of the rural public came up with an offbeat approach.

According to the team, for any community to move forward, they need to stay united and what better than sports can teach people to stay united. Creating a sports facility is not an easy task, and it needs a lot of resources, especially money.

In alignment with their vision of involving NRIs in the overall gamut – AP Janmabhoomi, kicked off a fundraiser
campaign and has collected a sum of almost 1,30,000 rupees in just five days. It should be noted that the whole fundraising was carried on the official website of AP Janmabhoomi, where 51 NRIs from various parts of the globe have participated. During the team’s physical inspection to the site, they’ve partnered with ThinkPeace, an NGO which has already been impacting the people living there for more than 5 years till now. As part of their integrated Tribal Development Project, AP Janmabhoomi also donated an amount of Rs. 3,00,000 for the construction of an Anganwadi school.

Distributing sports equipment

Shri Sarveshwar Rao, MLA of Araku and Shri Ravi Subhash, I.A.S graced the inauguration ceremony with their presence
and distributed the sports equipment which is set to unite and empower the youth and children of tribal villages around Kothavalasa. The equipment included outdoor sports equipment like volleyball, throw ball and cricket kits. The indoor equipment included table tennis, carom boards, and chessboards. A tournament named after the great freedom fighter, Shri Alluri Sitaramaju, was organized in the ground which saw participants from 12 Mandals.

Also Read: NRI School Connect Campaign- A new Virtual Learning initiative by government of AP 

The AP Special Representative for North America, Shri Jayaram Komati, currently heading the social initiative,
believes that all the NRIs share a common will to help
their native land.

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Actress Aparna Sen to attend 8th Chicago South Asian Film Festival

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Legendary Indian film actor and Padma Shri awardee Aparna Sen will be in Chicago this week. She is synonymous with bringing Bengali cinema closer to the masses not just in India but globally too finds an artistic proximity to Chicago. She says that the architecture of the city reminds her of a studio set from a movie.

Currently in the US, Sen has been having a very hectic schedule as her latest directorial venture, Sonata, is all set to be screened at film festivals in the US.

Amidst her busy schedule Aparna Sen takes out some time to talk to
Hi India! about her creative pursuits, the scope of regional Indian cinema in the US and of course about her love for museums and eateries in Chicago

“I have been to Chicago twice before this, and I’ve enjoyed the city hugely both times. I particularly like the downtown area with its interesting art deco architecture, its museums and eateries.” – Aparna Sen

Sen who has also directed critically acclaimed films such as 36 Chowringee Lane, that won her Best Director Award at the Indian National Film Awards is looking forward to the screening of her recent directorial film Sonata in America

Aparna Sen will be in the city to attend the 8th edition of Chicago South Asian Film Festival and is appreciative of the interest alternate Indian films have been creating in the US.

(IANS)