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Health support
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Bhoomika Trust supported The Banyan towards the running of a Holistic Rural Community Health Centre, operating out of Kovalam, catering to villages in the Thiruporur Block of Kancheepuram District. Kovalam being one of the coastal villages consists of more than 6000 people mainly involved in fishing.

A disaster like the tsunami that struck the coasts of India on December 26, 2004 has unforeseen psychological effects on the victims and a catastrophic effect on children, adolescents and the elderly. Most of them, especially children, suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Banyan is now in the process of reaching out to the community with its urban and rural outreach programmes. The Programme is centred around rural outreach activities in the Kancheepuram district. The Holistic Health Centre provides both basic general and mental health care while acting as a nodal centre for training Public Health Centres in Thiruporur (Kancheepuram district) to provide mental health care at the local level.

The Holistic Health Centre at Kovalam, an area affected by the tsunami treats over 500 people for general health conditions and about 50 people for psychiatric care every month. These services provide vital life saving health care for the 6,000 strong population of Kovalam Panchayat within a 10 kilometre distance around the health centre and reach out to the 20,000 people in the surrounding villages. General Health Out patient clinic is conducted 3 days a week.

The strategy is to provide effective early medical intervention, deliver expert health care, and minimize the inconvenience caused to patients and health-workers from poor logistics and long travel time. An equally important role is to provide health education emphasizing family planning, hygiene, sanitation, and prevention of communicable diseases.

In 2007, Bhoomika Trust supported the construction of the Holistic Rural Community Health Centre:
 •  Community Interaction Space measuring 825.10 square feet
 •  One General Out Patient consultation room measuring 255.75 square feet

The centre also holds street theatre presentations on a weekly basis, raising awareness on several issues alongside mental health, namely general health, hygiene, sanitation, human rights among others.

Lab at Holistic Health Centre
The people who avail these facilities are of a low socio-economic background who cannot afford private treatment, but more than 100 such patients are required to visit private hospitals on a monthly basis to take laboratory tests often required for diagnosis. This is a substantial expense, in addition to loss of wages of the patient/ family due to the time spent in travelling for such tests.

Given that anaemia is a major health concern in the Kovalam village - a condition that affects both mother and child, the health centre also conducts regular anaemia camps and a lab on its premises ensures regular follow-up and periodic checking of the patient.

A laboratory at the Health Centre saves the patients these expenses and provides in-house testing for the 250-300 people who come to the centre on a monthly basis. Support has been provided towards purchase of equipment for setting up a lab on the health centre premises so that at least the most common lab tests are undertaken at the facility. These would include blood tests, tests for thyroid, etc. Support was also provided by the Trust towards the operating expenses of the lab for one year.

Medical Camps
Special camps were conducted periodically depending on health issues addressed. Camps were held on the last Saturday of every month. A paediatric camp was held where the stress was on breast feeding, healthy dietary practice and hygiene. A lot of women in the reproductive age group complain of tiredness, body aches etc. Anemia was commonly seen among children and women in this age group. Hence an anemia camp was held in December 2007. They were also given dietary counseling.

A diabetes camp was held in February 2008. A total of 167 people benefited from the diabetes camp with 65 testing positive for diabetes. A diabetologist and a dietician were present during this camp. In April 2008, a dental camp was held. Tips on brushing techniques and oral hygiene were given.

Prevention of Cholera in Temporary Shelters
1,20,000 Doxycycline capsules were provided by the trust to the Department of Health and services and family welfare, Nagapattinam towards prevention of outbreak of cholera in the temporary shelters in Nagai district in December 2006.

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