Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A little bit of heaven!

It's another day in the tuberculosis clinic at Nav-jivan in Palaumu District of Jharkhand.
Budhi Bhuiya comes into the outpatient wth clasical features of tuberculosis.He is sent to the laboratory for his sputum,early morning and spot ,turns out to be positive for acid-fast baccilli.
Guddu,Amit Minz takes him to the counselling room.His fingers hooked around his belt he paces the room almost emulating a bollywood's police personal interrogating.However,if you hang around long enough,you realise how different the process is.In the fifteen minutes that he spends with the poor villager,he cajoles,bullies,advises,teaches with illustrations,affirms and understands the patient.At the end of the counselling session they have a camadarrie enough to address each other as 'Guddu Bhaiya' and 'Budhiji' and they appear to have made a connection of sorts.
When they have been through the entire DOTS hip-hop together,the next is the doctor's desk.Dr.Arpit stretches out his hands which hold an assortment of medicines in front of the patient .It's a conglomeration of colours-red,yellow and white in different sizes.The villager picks out the medicines according to the days as per their understanding.Once the doctor is convinced that the patient has understood the dosing well,the doctor,the counsellor and the patient pray together.The patient deposits an advance of 500 Rs and then goes home that day without the medicine.This starts a journey of six months of acquaintance...The counsellor visits the village and hands the medicine over to the DOTS provider the next day...
Ever so often the counsellor bikes it to the village to see the patient,talks to the DOTS provider and reminds them about the follow up visits.Every visit the patient's weight is monitered.His stipulated follow ups are done according to the schedule.Most times the patient is accompanied by the DOTS provider to the hospital.
At the end of six months,the patient comes for his final check-up,the DOTS provider comes along.Declared cured or completed treatment,they shake hands,get a word of affirmation,and the patient gets back his original deposit of Rs 500 and the DOTS provider his renumeration.
Nine out of ten the patient is won over to the system of DOTS in NJH and becomes the mouth-piece for the programme.

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