Visits to different healthcare settings in India
I always wanted to solve problems at the grass-root through technology and got an opportunity to work on different social problems while studying for my Bachelors degree. My specific interest in social healthcare led me to a biomedical Masters’ degree where I worked on a non-invasive blood glucose measurement device funded by the Government of India.
BIRAC and Villgro have given me a golden platform to pursue my passion. I’ve had the opportunity to visit different healthcare settings across India to understand problems in maternal and childcare.
I’ve met each and every stakeholder — the pregnant mother, mother with baby, ASHA worker, ANM, lab technician, and doctor. I wanted to look at every healthcare setting so I visited private hospitals, district hospitals, CHC, PHC, sub-centres, and mobile health units. I saw the machines and the other tools used. I observed the steps involved in prenatal care, anti-natal care, post-natal care, and the care given to a child till the age of five.
Karuna Trust B.R. Hills
On my first visit, I went to Karuna Trust in B.R. Hills, Southern Karnataka. There I visited a government district-level hospital, CHC, PHC & Sub centres. It was a great meeting with ASHA workers, ANMs and doctors. They shared their experience and talked about the different facilities, in hospitals, different problems and workflow. We observed that lab technicians take a lot of time to perform different blood tests due to a lack of affordable technology. The medical instruments were lying around due to poor maintenance. I also got a chance to visit different tribal communities, where I got to know, about a traditional way of delivery, which was in practice among tribal communities. We also observed scabies (skin infections) among new-borns as being one of the major problems here.
I went to Chennai and visited, a tertiary care hospital and met a senior gynaecologist, senior paediatrician and nurse. We also had the opportunity to visit NICU, PICU, and labour ward. The tertiary healthcare setting was looking pretty clean if we compare it with our last visit to primary health centres. This hospital is one of the referral centres for children aged 0–5 years old, so we saw critical cases at NICU and get to know about individual cases. The nurse at NICU talks about wires lying around babies and connected to the monitoring system.
Thrissur, Kerala, where we visited a tertiary-care hospital and got the chance to see a live delivery (both caesarian and normal). We met senior gynaecologists, doctors pursuing Masters’ degrees in obstetrics and gynaecology, nursing staff and patients. We visited the labour ward, operation theatre, NICU, PICU and biomedical department. The labour ward had more than 10 beds and all beds were full. We observed a lot of paperwork in the labour ward, a thick file for each pregnant mother. Doctors were using their own wristwatch or mobile phone to count the seconds for fetal heart rate and contraction measurement. Neonatal specialists at NICU talked about an issue with the size of the probe to measure oxygen saturation and pulse rate for new-born babies.
Wish Foundation Rajasthan
WISH Foundation, Rajasthan — We visited Sawaimadhopur and Jhalawar district. We visited different PHCs and their subsequent sub-centres. These PHCs and sub-centres operate in a PPP (Public-Private Partnership) model, so we were able to, look at affordable advanced technology. The ANMs and lab technicians were using a non-invasive device to measure haemoglobin, but I still found a lot of anaemia cases in this region. What was really surprising was that multiple deliveries happened in ambulance 108 or 104 when the ambulance was on the way to the hospital. ANMs talked about the blind faith of community people when there is any maternal and neonatal mortality.
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