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Healthcare Field Diaries: Part 1

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Healthcare Field Diaries: Part 1

The second last day of December 2022 was supposed to be a regular day for the Sonbhadra team of Smile Foundation’s Healthcare programme, Health Cannot Wait but a healthcare case study caught the team by surprise. The team was performing its usual Outpatient Department (OPD) duties at Lahuwa under Nagwa block in Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh.

Healthcare Case Study

The Auxiliary Nurse and Midwife (ANM), Runa Praveen informed the Community Health Officer (CHO), Seraj Ahmed about an old woman aged between 60-65 years severely burnt below her abdominal area a few days back. The woman was lying in the bed for more than one week without burn treatment.

Her family was not sure of the necessary next steps to treat the injuries of the woman. The ANM informed the team that maggots were growing inside the wound making the injured person feel restless. The presence of maggots in the wound was inflicting severe pain on the woman.

There woman has many family members but everyone was hesitant to do anything constructive to improve the grave situation. This healthcare case study was a bit baffling for the team. Mindset change was the biggest challenge in channelizing the family resources for the treatment of the severely burnt person.

The injured person was not a direct beneficiary of the Smile On Wheels arm of the Health programme. However, she would come to the OPD along with her daughter-in-law who needed regular medical treatment. The daughter-in-law received medicines when she got her checkups done at the OPD.

Mobilize Local Leadership

Sonbhadra Smile Team arranged for a quick meeting to support the injured woman but the big question was: “What to do exactly?”. Her family members were not taking much interest in the case. They were not understanding the severity of the situation that the woman was in.

After a brief discussion internally, the team decided to involve the influence of local leadership to ensure proper treatment for the woman. We discussed in detail the whole matter with an influential person in the area and requested the person to intervene on behalf of the woman who needed immediate medical treatment.

The team of Smile Sonbhadra and the local leader discussed the matter with the family members of the injured old woman and successfully transformed their resistance into acceptance of the situation. The team not only managed to shift the injured woman to the district hospital but also ensured that the family members of the patient were the ones who made the call to the Ambulance Service.

The whole of the family came together with the injured woman’s daughter-in-law accompanying the ambulance and other family members ready to stay with her till the completion of the treatment process in the hospital.

The whole episode came to an end within an hour. Simple, effective efforts based on humane values ensured the proper treatment of the person in need and upheld her right to a dignified life.

Current Status

The team of Smile Sonbhadra contacted the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) of that village and enquired about the injured person’s condition. She informed the team that the patient was recovering well and her family members were present with her at the district hospital.

Healthcare Case Study: CHO Reflections

  • Aged people lack in ability to perform household work/other work and therefore, some families consider them a burden
  • Social norms and values at constant threat; community-centric thinking needs to take center-stage
  • Family values dwindling
  • Shortage of people who can positively engage in such situations

Smile Foundation and Healthcare

Smile Foundation believes that healthcare must reach those who are traditionally cut off from nearby medical infrastructure. Healthcare should reach those for whom healthcare is a luxury that everyone cannot afford most times. We are working in a consistent manner to make the dream of healthcare for all a reality.

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