Last week MINDS staff visited patients in four villages ( Khandia, Malu, Hareshwar, & Bhadarpur) to check in on their overall health and invite them to the patient camp at Gotri Hospital. The purpose of this “patient campaign” is to follow-up with these individuals and their families to assess the status of their condition/illness and general livelihood (Staff traveled an average total distance of 165 km). The staff counseled some patients on the importance of working for a wage. It is helpful for individuals suffering from conditions such as epilepsy to gain skills and engage in some sort of work ( such as sewing & alterations, assiting a shopkeeper in a store, etc) to ensure their financial independence and health in the future once their caretaker has passed away. The following day, several patients came to Gotri Hospital for their follow-up medical visit with the physician and to receive medication. Every patient did not come to the patient camp, those who did not come will be contacted by a MINDS staff member and be delivered a restock of their medication at their home. The rural population faces significant barriers accessing medical services. Psychiatric and neurological illnesses require specialized care. There is a dearth of trained health care professionals practicing in rural areas, especially in the field of mental health. Villagers live on average 75-80 km ( one way) from the nearest government hospital and must utilize various methods for travel, including walking a significant distance in the summer heat [ temperatures in May- June 2016 have regularly reached around 110 F -113 F (40-45 C)]. Often a patient and their family must take off work and lose a full day’s wage to travel to the hospital. Many cannot afford this luxury and as a result their health suffers. Regular contact between MINDS staff and patients helps mediate issues such as a lack of medication and allows patients and their families to voice concerns.
*Photos -[MINDS staff members speak to a young patient’s mother. The mother was working in the field with her older daughter. She informed staff of a young man in the village suffering from seizures, the MINDS staff instructed her to inform him and his family to come to the patient camp at Gotri Hospital. The next day the young man ( 22 years) visited the Doctor with his wife and young son and received a diagnosis and appropriate medication to treat his illness.]