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November-December 2002
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Known faces
p10-1.jpg Women who help out with your medical aliments. Women who assist you with perscription details.These are the women behind "Vikas Mahila Sangam" (VMS), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) which works with the objective of helping the patients visiting Lal Bhadur Shastri Hospital, Khichdipur, East Delhi. The organisation was approached by the then chairman of the hospital to aid the doctors and the staff with the administration and smooth functioning of the hospital. With the patients being illiterate and rude and the hospital being overcrowded and understaffed, understanding perscription details became a big issue for the patients. This is were the women of VMS stepped in. Retired, senior females from the neigbhourhood of Mayur Vihar, they began by streamlining the prescription lines. These women were trained by the doctors on how to decipher medical prescriptions and how to guide the patients as to where to go to the concerned doctor in the hospital.

The women have been trained in identifying a critically ill patient and rushing him to the concerned doctor at the earliest. They have an excellent teamwork with the doctors and the staff. A separate ante-natal registeration counter is handled by the organisation wherein counselling on breast-feeding, immunisation, and usage of oral rehydration salts is given to the pregnant females. Personal hygiene counselling is an important part of the whole education process. Emphases is given on prevention of water-borne diseases. The registration counter also serves as a counselling centre for couples wherein family planning counselling is an integral part of the process. The women of VMS are now the "known" faces of the hospital, and in the decade of their services to the hospital, they have never taken a day off.

Registered in 1997, the ngo has been the driving force behind the smooth relations between the patients and the doctors of the hospital. It is now a part of all the health camps held by the hospital.

What began initially in 1991 as an extended form of a kitty party has now taken shape into a full feldged non-governmental organisation. VMS also holds balwadi and health awareness camps in the slums of Khichdipur.

For further information, please contact:
Shakuntala Srivastava
403/Pocket E, Mayur Vihar Phase-II,
New Delhi 110 096
Ph: 011-2770274

Breathe easy
p10-2.jpg In 1998, a group of prominent chest physicians of New Delhi got together to launch the Better Breathers Club of India (BBCI). The group was concerned over the alarming rise in asthma cases in the city. It also noted that environmental triggers were known, identifiable and with proper education and awareness, most of these triggers would be avoided and asthma prevented. The presence of just one speciality hospital in the capital to deal with the disease also made the doctors aware of the need for such a campaign.

Set up in the lines of the National, Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Bethesda, Maryland, USA, the main objective of the BBCI is to educate the public and children at large about the environmental triggers linked to asthma and the preventive measures that can be taken up against this disease. The physicians of BBCI have been invited by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) India to set up an advisory board to launch the National Initiative against Asthma (NINA). NINA would be focusing on organising regular patient and professional education programmes.

The main objective of BBCI, is to create awarness about asthma. Ensuring proper diagnosis of asthma at the earliest and treatment of other respiratory diseases is also an important element of BBCI. BBCI has launched School Asthma Awarness National Seminar (SAANS) to monitor and determine the prevalence of asthma in the National Capital Territory of Delhi. Through its information dissemination programme, SAANS aims to make children more active, bring about a decrease in school absenteeism, improve night time asthma symptoms and restrict the side effects of asthma medications.

SAANS has been launched in 7 public schools and there are plans to involve government schools. This initiative has already seen the setting up of an "Asthma Cell" in one of the leading schools of New Delhi. Besides the principals and school teachers, local school doctors play an important role in this project. SAANS also comes out with a newsletter devoted to awareness on respiratory diseases and environmental influences.

For further information on BBCI and SAANS

P P Bose,
Chairman, BBCI, I-1611, C R Park,
New Delhi 110 019
Ph: 011-6271672/ 09810159687
E-mail: ppbose@vsnl.net

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