COMMUNITY HEALTH AND TRAINING CENTRE - MUGALUR
During my recent trip to India, I was fortunate to be invited to visit the Community Health Training Center Mugalur run by the Department of Community Health of Saint John’s Medical College.
In keeping with the mission of Saint John’s, CBCI society of Medical Education decided to have its own rural Community Health Training Center as a commemoration of the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the college 1987. Since we are all busy focusing on the Knowledge centre, I thought a few words about the CBCI society for Medical Education SILVER Jubilee souvenir would be a perfect segway to the Golden Jubilee celebrations.
Today this centre, which has training (classrooms and basic residential facilities for medical and nursing students and community health workers), service and research facilities serves more than 25 surrounding villages and is one of the sites of ground breaking research by the Division of Clinical Trials of Saint John’s Research Institute. During my visit there was a team from Australia working on a teaser film about the Polypill hoping to get funding for a documentary about the same.
Riding in a Mahendra Bolero after a few kilometers of back breaking roads was happy to reach our destination. As we entered the building we were greeted by health care workers in colorful saris. It was hard not to notice the Saint John’s mission statement
He shall live because of me
The Mugulur Health centre has several areas of focus it educates and delivers healthcare to 25 surrounding village’s roughly encompassing a radius of 25 kilometers. The areas they focus on are
1: Maternal and Child care by Dr. Sulekha.
2. The Senior care clinic serving the needs of the senior population runs by Dr Arvind Kasturi, Dr. Pretesh Kiran, Dr. Betsy of the department of Medicine and the public health nurse Magaret (Funding in large part obtained By Dr Marian Kamath)
3: Ophthalmology, ENT services and Community Based Rehabilitation run by Dr Dominic Misquith with help from Dr Deepthi Shanbhag, Dr. Daisy John Ms. Ratnakumari and supported by the respective hospital departments.
4: Mental Health Services initiated by Dr. Anton Issacs (class of 1989) with a great deal of support from Dr. Geetha Jayram (class of 1968) and now run by Dr. Ramkrishna Goud.
5. The NIH research study PREPARE - primary prevention strategies at the community level to promote treatment adherence to prevent cardiovascular disease by Drs. Twinkle A. (1991) Farah Fatima and Dominic Misquith.
6 Formation of self help groups of women including persons with disability, health volunteers and a tailoring center by the Dr. Deepthi and Ms. Ratnakumari.
There is a full equipped ophthalmology and ENT outpatient department. The ENT outpatient services are provided by the faculty from the main hospital. There is a functional OR where surgeries like cataract surgeries with IOL implants (on an average 450 to 500 for the year) are being done by Dr. Daisy John and serves as the base for surgical skill training of the postgraduates of the department of Ophthalmology.
Towards the back on the facility is the Occupational and Physical Therapy room (formerly the cooks residence) with Ramps .Plans for therapy are being instituted here.
The Mugalur health centre also houses the Dr. Chitra Solomon room which after permission from the family was built for audiovisual and education purposes.
The medical students from Saints Johns are mandated to rotate through the centre through their medical school years for one week at a time during their second and seventh semesters. They live in at the facility, study, work, research; breathe at this facility for that duration
The Community Health Department also houses a Community Health post graduate who lives there for 6 months performing the duties of the Resident Medical Officer. The clinic is open 24/7 for deliveries and emergencies, if they cannot handle medical problems they are sent to the main Campus.
Besides the RMO and the medical students the Community Health Care Workers are the mainstay of this facility. They go into the community and educate the folks on good health care practices. There are eleven heath care workers that work closely with the medical students, docs, and villagers at the surrounding villages; they also put up street plays to highlight health issues like ear diseases and hearing impairment, why breast feeding is good for infants, why immunizing children is important in preventing diseases. The cafeteria a multifunctional unit turns into a hall for education when this occurs. The kitchen is right next door where sumptuous aromas greet you when you are there.
Since the centre is only 30 kilometer form the main campus I would urge any of you visiting the main campus to stop over at this facility where so much is achieved with so little - all courtesy of the Community Health DEPARTMENT