By Parimal Naik, grant coordinator, Rotary Club of Gandevi, India
In January, our club organized a medical mission to provided life-saving health care to the rural and tribal community of Gandevi in the western part of India. Our mission consisted of 26 visiting doctors and paramedics from an association of Indian physicians of Northern Ohio, USA. It was our third trip to Gandevi since 2010, and among 29 medical missions we have organized with the help of grants from The Rotary Foundation. It was pure pleasure to see the smiles on the faces of thousands of recipients, and on many of the team members as well.
We are a club made up mostly of millennials, located in the Gujarat state of India. In advance of this latest trip, teams of Rotarians from my club organized screening camps in nine villages, selected on the basis of need and availability of local resources.
More than 6,200 patients were examined, diagnosed, and given free medicine during the nine screenings. We have a track record of providing free follow-up care to those screened during our “medical pilgrimage projects.” A total of 784 patients were identified for further care or checkups at four hospitals including Haria L.G. Hospital, Vapi; Yashfeen Cardiac Hospital, Navsari; Gram Seva Trust Hospital, Kharel; and Jamnaba Hospital, Bardoli. We received a $100,000 global grant from The Foundation which allowed us arrange the care at no cost.
Through 31 March, 97 surgeries or biopsies had been performed to remove gallbladders, treat appendicitis, correct hernias and address kidney problems, among other procedures. In addition, cardiologists performed 11 heart valve replacements, 9 coronary bypass surgeries, and 25 angiograms. Ophthalmologists at Lilavati Mohanlal Shah Eye Hospital in Navsari also performed 151 cataract surgeries.
We are extremely grateful to our friends in the Rotary Club of Bakersfield, California, USA, and to Rotary District 5240, who were our international partners on the global grant. District 3060 also supported us with money from their District Designated Funds, and District 1260 and the Rotary Club of Mississagga Center, Canada, partnered with us.
We do not have the words to properly thank The Foundation, our partners, and all who helped with our medical pilgrimage project. Rotary is allowing us to be an inspiration to others by making a difference in our communities. Thank you Rotary and Rotarians for helping us serve humanity.