Villages With The Physician’s Mobile Unit
April 30th, 2010 by INMED
Today we set out for the rural villages in the physician’s mobile unit. I had wanted to meet persons who had disabilities so Sam OT went along with me to the villages. In the first village, Salamatham, we visited a woman with 2 daughters in their 30’s, both were deaf. They had their own sign language system and verbalizations that they understood. The daughters were both married and had children of their own. They were pretty well integrated into their community and functioned with minimal assistance.
The mobile physician unit is interesting. We pulled into the front yard of a house-under a tree for shade and they set up shop. There were about 10 women sitting on the porch waiting for the van. One doctor sat outside of the van at a table and saw anyone who walked up. Everyone has a medical card and it is obvious that they guard this card… They carried the card in old woven plastic rice sacks for protection. The doctor outside takes the person’s blood pressure and talks with them about their complaint. Another doctor inside examines anyone that the outside doctor refers. There is also a health worker (she wears a pink sari) who hands out vitamins to pregnant women. And there is a nurse (she wears a blue sari) who dispenses medicines from a window in the back of the van. It is a very efficient operation.
After about 2 hours, everyone had been seen who wanted the doctor’s services so we moved onto the next village, Perumalaipet, where the doctors again set up shop. Sam the OT and I walked to the home of a young man who had severe disabilities. His mother had had rheumatic fever while she was pregnant. This young man was 17 years old and in the 5th standard (I think that is equivalent to our 5th grade) and was making excellent grades. He had not been allowed to start school until he was older because of his childhood illnesses. His older brother has mental retardation and carries around the younger brother. The younger brother wants to do computer work when he finishes school…but the family is extremely poor. Sam OT was hoping I could find them some financial help…this boy has an opportunity to learn a skill that will allow him to be independent. He is really a poster child of sorts. The father climbed the palm tree in the yard and brought down 2 green coconuts for us to drink from and then cut them open so we could eat the coconut meat.
Sam OT and I rode the city bus back to CMC campus-another adventure! Hot, crowded (VERY CROWDED) but a gentleman did give me his seat. The children stare, of course, but it was interesting…they would try to get near my seat and hold onto the seat back and “accidently” touch my hand with a finger. I was a real curiosity on the bus.