Presentation on theme: "The Center for the Church and Global AIDS/Bethany Lutheran Church Host Eye/Health Camp in Rural India."— Presentation transcript:
The Center for the Church and Global AIDS/Bethany Lutheran Church Host Eye/Health Camp in Rural India
Through Bethany’s support of the Center for the Church and Global AIDS, On June 18 th and 19 th, 2009, 155 patients were seen at the first eye camp in Kulivalavu, Kolli Hills. The CARE Center (Concern for AIDS Research and Education) conducted the eye camp in Kulivalavu and villagers walked from the other 6 villages in close proximity.
Months of preparation went into coordinating this program. Dr. N.M. Samuel is the founder of the CARE Center
The camp was run under Dr. Samuel’s direction by Dr. Rhadakrishnan
and Girish (program assistant). Pastor Ponnusamy (left) with Girish (right).
In their visits to the area, Dr. Rhadakrishnan and Girish got to know a number of Christian missionaries in Kolli Hills. The missionaries helped spread the word about the camp and encouraged participation in the villages where they work. These eye camp notices were placed throughout the villages to assure a good turnout.
We were fortunate to be allowed to hold the camp at the Brand Memorial Church in Kulivalavu.
All the patients were required to register so that CARE has their addresses and any health problems could be followed up. Pastors and their wives from neighboring churches helped with registration.
Dr. Samuel was able to obtain the assistance of two eye doctors to examine the patients. Dr. Sivakumar volunteered and brought two assistants to help with initial screening the first day. Each patient was tested
then examined by Dr. Sivakumar. He noted all patients that would require follow up.
Dr. Samuel checked blood pressures and listened to their chests. They had planned to draw blood, but in an effort to not scare off the clientele, they have postponed this additional service for the next camp when the villagers will know better what to expect. 155 patients were seen over the two days.
At lunchtime, a delicious homemade lunch of vegetable biriyani was served at the site for all participants.
Bethany member, Penny Selden, created a scroll from a sari and then sewed a bible verse, quote from Mother Theresa, and a message from the Bethany congregation on to the sari. Both days Dr. Samuel presented the scroll to the attendees. They were very curious about the gift and went up and touched many of the individual signatures. He told the groups about a church (Bethany) and a nonprofit organization (The Center for the Church and Global AIDS) in Denver, Colorado in the U.S.A. whose financial support made the camp possible. Dr. Samuel commented in a letter, “it is the best gift we have received and it binds our two communities together. It is hanging in the hall of the Brand Memorial Church in Kulivalavu.
The last part of the camp was the post eye camp. This follow up is crucial to the patients’ health. Twelve patients were brought down from Kolli Hills to Namakkal to be seen by Dr. Siva Kumar two weeks after the camp. Dr. Siva Kumar agreed to provide subsidized care. Nine patients required spectacles and they were measured for these. Dr. Rhadhakrishnan, Girish and the wives of two of the Pastors hand delivered the glasses to the patients’ homes once they were ready. One person required cataract surgery.
The people with high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension, and TB were given prescriptions when possible and will be seen again in August to follow up with additional blood work. Dr. Samuel suspected a few of the patients were suffering from HIV infection and/or TB. They will be tested for these in August. Many of the attendees had vitamin deficiencies and were given multi vitamins as needed.
The women, men and children were all very appreciative and took an active role in their health care. The doctors encouraged them to return again for the next camp in August and to bring friends. They enjoyed seeing pictures of themselves (the only contribution I made) and sought me out to take their photos. Young and old were pleased with their reflection. It was such a pleasure and a huge blessing to see their smiles. Please check out their wonderful smiles: