India’s monsoons bring destructive winds and damaging rains. Related flooding can displace thousands and ruin crops. But among monsoon’s other negative impacts are on the most vulnerable people – life-threatening illness and infections.
AmeriCares India recently held a series of health camps for women and children in Shahapur, collection of small villages on the outskirts of Mumbai. The impoverished community lacks access to basic health care and safe drinking water. The villages are more than an hour’s walk to the nearest medical facility, a journey made even more difficult by the patient’s condition. Compounding health problems are high rates of malnutrition and diseases related to vitamin deficiencies.
In response, AmeriCares India set up health camps for the villages in partnership with Prem Seva Mahila Mandal, a local group that provides women and children with basic education, counseling and primary health care. Health camps in India are held for people in desperate need of care. They take place in temporary, makeshift clinics geared to help people in desperate need of basic care.
During the each day-long health camps, medical aid and nutritional supplements were provided to over 700 people. The lack of proper shelter in the villages forced two of these camps to be set up on the side of the road using AmeriCares vehicles as medical stations. Several elderly, women and children came to the camps critically ill with high fever, chest infections and diarrhea caused by the onset of the monsoon season. They huddled in blankets, having seen no doctor and having received no treatment.
AmeriCares was able to provide antibiotics and other lifesaving medicines. A seven-year-old boy was brought to the camp by his mother; he appeared frail and ill and was shivering though wrapped in a blanket. He has been running a high fever for two days and had stopped eating. AmeriCares doctors determined that the boy suffered from pneumonia, a fever of 103F and an inflamed throat. After immediate treatment with antibiotics, the boy’s temperature became normal and he was eating – a very healthy sign of recovery.
AmeriCares also distributed nutritional supplements to the entire community so that the general health population of the villages could be improved.