Among Sharana’s programs, medical care has been identified as the first and most critical need. All beneficiaries, who live in Pondicherry and its surrounding rural areas, have no consistently proper access to medical support. For these families, even routine and basic medical requirements are unaffordable and minor illnesses or injuries are left untreated and usually lead to more severe diseases and sometimes death. Health conditions among adults compromise their working and earning ability, resulting in extreme adverse effects on their children and the whole families.
When the Angalakuppam Community Centre was built in 2001, space was set aside for a dispensary that has become the reference clinic for the beneficiaries of all Sharana’s programs. The patients who are part of the Medical Program are from Sharana’s Individual, Collective, Sponsorship Programs (known collectively as the “Back to School” initiative), Streets and Slums Program, Vocational Training program as well as all the inhabitants of Angalakuppam and 6 surrounding villages.
The dispensary has become a primary health centre for Angalakuppam and surrounding villages as it is both easily accessible and convenient. It also has established working relationships with several area hospitals to refer patients for further care. Finally, it serves as a base for further medical outreach activities including eye care and dental care, breast cancer awareness camps. Through this program, Sharana reaches out to over 5,000 people in the villages and almost 7,000 people around Pondicherry.
The dispensary is run by Lakshmi, a young woman from the village who worked hard to become a qualified medical practitioner and then to gain the faith and trust from the whole community. She makes visits to the other programs in Pondicherry town to attend to children’s healthcare issues.
Several medical outreach activities are conducted at the Angalakuppam Community Centre:
• Routine medical care
• Eyecare camps (conducted by the reputed Arvind Eye Hospital)
• Dental camps
• Family planning awareness
• Vaccinations (including pulse polio)
• Detection of respiratory and heart ailments, blood pressure monitoring
• Referral services, where patients are triaged to local hospitals based on their physical conditions
• Reassuring the community and conducting special visits for the ages, the pregnant and the injured
The main objective of the Medical Program is:
• To provide medical support and referral services to our direct beneficiaries (the children) and indirect beneficiaries (their families and communities).