A decade ago, Mandvi and Mundra region of Kutch were like any other rural areas of this very vast country. With limited access to healthcare, people had to travel to bhuj, Ahmadabad, Rajkot and other distant places. There was a lack of specialised care for chronic ailments.The prominent ailments inflicting the population of the region included: skin related ailments, eye problems apart from common cold, fever, and stomach ailments due to the region’s proximity to the sea coast and due to the arid climate of the region. The communities also suffer from Osteoarthritis which is one of the most common diseases amongst the elderly villagers. In addition, gynaecological problems amongst women are found in the region.
This has all changed with the advent of development in the region. The government has steadily focussed on infrastructure development and invited industries to participate and create direct and indirect employment. The industry in turn has brought civil society and field workers to enhance quality of life around the areas of their operation. This inclusive development has directly impacted health raising the overall healthcare standards of the region.
Initiating healthcare for all
Pic: Visiting healthcare at doorstep
Mundra UMPP is one of the prominent industries present in the region which has undertaken several initiatives towards increasing access to healthcare in the region.
This has been done after a thorough needs assessment and is focussed on providing specialised healthcare. In collaboration with the communities the following project has been launched in the various neighbouring villages and hamlets. Project Arogya hosts school and community health camps along with creating awareness on sanitation and health. The programme also overlooks sponsored operations and advocacy initiatives. Under this programme:
- Healthcare camps are organised in the villages. These camps are specialized and general
- Specialised camps are focussed on (a) Vaccination (b) Eye camp (c) Dental camp (d) General Camps (e) Medical Check-up (f) Haemoglobin check-up (g) gynaecological camps
- Mundra UMPP partners with various trusts and doctors from prominent hospitals of Gujarat
- Villages are kept informed of the upcoming health camps
- While basic diagnosis is made at the camp, the patients are referred to prominent hospitals for added care as and when required
- School health camps are organized for children which also test for nutritional deficiencies
- Health cards are distributed for follow-up and tracking
Special focus was necessary for the fishing communities’ residing in the neighbouring villages of Modhva nad Tragadi because of their poor economic condition. Bhojay Saravodaya trust and KCRC partnered with UMPP Mundra to undertake a series of health camps in these two villages and Bunder to take care of their medical health requirement.
Surtaniben, 60 years old, Vandh village, Eye Camps, Beneficiary
“I have been engaged in embroidery and tie and dye work since childhood. My vocation and earnings got hampered because of my eye ailments. I was approached by CGPL for the free of cost surgery. They made announcements in the village on their activity through leaflets, notice boards, door to door visits by company volunteers and invited me to undergo the cataract operation. It was very beneficial for me as it would have been very expensive or unaffordable for me to get treated at any other hospital and I would not be able to get back to my profession. Thanks to CGPL, I am now able to travel around the country making a living in my traditional art – embroidery.”Dakshaben – 36 years old – Tragadi village – Health Camps
“There was a lack of health provisions and regular medical facilities before CGPL. The camps to check Haemoglobin levels, eye camps, cataract camps, physiotherapy camps, malaria detection camps, blood check-up camps, gynaecology camps, nutrition camps for children etc. are undertaken keeping in mind the needs and requirements of the village and various groups of the community. We are always informed in advance about the health camps conducted by the company. Sessions are also undertaken to understand what issues women face. We were educated on how to cure stomach aches, on hygiene issues, told how to calculate our Body Mass Index, what to eat to increase haemoglobin levels, which oil to use for different health issues, overweight people got details on what diet to undertake and beneficiaries were given knowledge on menstrual cycles, menopause and birth control. These topics which were once considered taboo, is now openly discussed amongst the women. There are women who feel shy to go to doctors for check-ups, find it difficult to express their ailments and even more difficult to afford them. These health and referral camps were very beneficial to us. I am certain Mundra will prosper in coming years with CGPL constantly seeking to learn and address pressing issues in the area.”
Pic: Visiting doctor at the camp
Pic: Healthcare Camp at Vandh Village
Pic: Distribution of free medicines at the health camp
Bachubhai Ramji – 72 years old – Tunda village
Eye check-up Camps, Beneficiary
“I had a lot of difficulty to see from one eye as it was swollen very badly. The check-ups at hospitals in the area are very expensive and related surgeries are even more expensive. It also takes long and expensive travels to avail any such medical help. CGPL organized an eye camp in the village which helped my condition considerably. CGPL’s initiative has helped me in getting my vision back. For old people and women such camps are necessary as we can’t move out much.
The company has organized referral services at Bhuj with three days stay, food and other residential facilities. The company has also arranged for our pick and drop facility. These regular check-ups help in detecting issues before hand and improve the health status in our village.”