By Parimal Naik, grants coordinator for the Rotary Club of Gandevi, India
Our Rotary club is located in the southern part of Gujrat State, India. Earlier this year, we had the incredible experience of hosting a series of medical camps, screening thousands of community members for medical conditions and following up with life-saving surgeries.
A vocational training team of visiting specialists from the Association of Indian Physicians of Northern Ohio (AIPNO) performed 30 angiography procedures, 27 echocardiograms, 11 angioplasty procedures, seven heart bypass surgeries, eight chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and three surgeries to remove cancerous tumors. The project we envisioned as a medical pilgrimage clearly accomplished its goal of changing lives in our local community.
We have done many Matching Grant projects through the Rotary Foundation, but this was our very first global grant, and we were extremely thankful to have the help of many Rotary members, including our international sponsor club of Chagrin Highlands, Ohio, USA, and other clubs in Ohio, California, and Toronto, Canada. We also received gracious support from the AIPNO, Gujrat Cancer Research Institute, Kailash Cancer Hospital, Yashfeen Hospital, and the Lions Cancer Center.
We held seven screening camps in seven villages, examining more than 1,700 patients. We received excellent support from the local health department, primary health center, and community health center. Local physicians volunteered their time along with members of our Rotary Community Corps, Interactors, and other local volunteers. All these individuals helped us with a series of planning meetings that kept our project running smoothly.
Patients with a high risk of cancer, coronary diseases, or diabetes were identified and invited back to one of three specialty camps held in Gandevi. These 500 plus patients were examined again by our specialists and 140 were recommended for surgeries or other follow-up care.
Two seminars were organized at the Government Medical College where the visiting experts shared their knowledge on cancer, coronary disease, and diabetes with local physicians, government health department workers, faculty and students. In addition, more than 300 people attended a special awareness seminar held in the community on diabetes prevention, as the disease is known as the silent killer. Dr. Adi Mehti delivered his talk in the local Parsi language. Six hundred AHSA workers attended a separate training program on the prevention of diabetes.
Women were given Pap smear tests and taught about breast cancer awareness. BAPS Hospital in Surat offered us a special package under which Pap smears, mammograms, and calcium detection tests for 158 women were performed at highly subsidized rates. Other cancer experts from the cooperating facilities helped us perform mammograms, Pap smears, and sonograms on an additional 71 women, medicines were given free of cost to the patients, and blood samples were collected for 415 patients with reports given free of cost.
The average age of the beneficiaries who underwent life-saving surgeries was about 42, and these were families who couldn’t otherwise afford these treatments. We salute The Rotary Foundation and all the clubs who helped make this project possible and save so many lives. The public image of Rotary reached new heights in our community.
When you give to The Rotary Foundation, you support projects like this one. Every gift, from every Rotarian, makes a world of difference.