Dr. Prakash Mungli, UMHS Chair of Department of Molecular Sciences, Professor of Biochemistry, and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, will once again help the people of his native India during the upcoming winter break. For the second year in a row, Dr. Mungli has organized a Health Camp in Rural India. From December 2015 through January 2016, Dr. Mungli conducted a free diabetes and hypertension health camp in his village and helped approximately 250 patients. Dr. Mungli helped detect 25 new cases of diabetes, and the people are now undergoing the proper treatment and doing well.
Now Dr. Mungli plans to do the Health Camp in rural India again during the upcoming break in December. This time, however, Dr. Mungli will get help from 20 physicians from various specialties, including cardiology and neonatology. He expects to turnaround approximately 4,000 patients in one day.
The UMHS Endeavour spoke to Dr. Mungli about what gave him the idea for the Health Camp, what diseases he and the other doctors will be screening for, how a donation from President Warren Ross helped, and more.
UMHS Endeavour: What gave you the idea to do the Health Camp in Rural India?
Dr. Prakash Mungli: After my basic medical degree (that is MBBS, a minimum qualification to practice as an allopathic family physician in India), I got into family practice. I did my clinical practice in my native place. I have treated people from my village and surrounding villages for two years. It was a busy practice for two years. I have seen these people and they know me well. I have always been in touch with them even after coming to the Caribbean. Whenever I visited back home, I treated some of these people. This connection has gave me an idea of conducting a diabetes and hypertension health camp as I wanted to bring an awareness about these two diseases in my village. The part of the reason is also to identify, advise and treat patients with diabetes and hypertension. So in my last visit to India (that is during December 2015 to January 2016), I conducted a free diabetes and hypertension health camp in my village. It was a successful camp with around 250 patient turnouts. During that camp with the help of my village youth association and paramedical staff, I did see around 250 patients.
Do you want to give the name of the village in India?
I came from a small village named Bhujanganagara in the Southern part of India. This is where I have conducted the diabetes and hypertension health camp.
You detected 25 new cases of diabetes and said the people are now on regular treatment and doing well. Do people in this part of India have regular access to screening for diabetes and hypertension? Why or why not?
Yes, indeed I have detected around 25 new cases of diabetes during my January 2016 health camp and it was a really satisfying feeling. It is more satisfying for me to keep in touch with those people and knowing that they are doing well now with their blood glucose under control. As any other part of the world, generally people living in urban area have better access to health facilities than rural areas. In the same line, people in rural India do not have easy access to healthcare. Though things are improving now, but still largely there is unawareness about rapidly spreading diseases like diabetes. Part of the reason for this is changing dietary habits and lifestyle. I came across many cases of diabetes and hypertension while I was interacting with my villagers on one-on-one basis. So this has given me an idea of conducting diabetes and hypertension health camp during my last visit to India.
You plan to do the health camp again and take it to the next level, and are including 20 physicians from various specialties, including cardiology and neonatology, to help you during the December break. You’re going to have the free Health camp for all diseases for both children and adults. What are some of the other diseases you will be screening for and treating?
Yes, when I completed the diabetes and hypertension health camp, many youths of my village came to thank me for conducting health camp for the villagers. They have thanked me for all my time, experience, expertise and the money that I have spent to make the health camp successful. They have requested me to conduct a health camp during my next visit to India. One of the requests from them was to include all diseases and possibly bringing specialists from all specialties of medicine. This request from them has motivated me to take the health camp to the higher level. This time I have planned to conduct a free general health camp where children and adult, male and female having any illness will be addressed. People from surrounding villages have also requested to include their villagers into this health camp. Hence this time I’m conducting a health camp not only for my villagers but also for the people of surrounding villages.
This is a huge task and it needs lot of planning and execution. We have decided to conduct this camp on December 11, 2016. I will be reaching the village in India on December 7, 2016. So I do not have much time; hence I have started all the necessary preparation from St Kitts itself. I have a great support from my physician friends who all are my schoolmates. I also have a great support from my village youth association, Sri Taralabalu muth committee, and co-operative society.
Were you surprised that so many physicians offered to help out this year?
I’m not at all surprised about this fact! The reason for this is all the physicians that are participating in this camp are my friends. I have known all of them since my school time. We have studied together in a residential school called Jawahar Navodaya Vidhyalaya, Chikkajogihalli (JNVC), in Southern India. We all have got the best possible education with all the great life values and morals being taught. We all are like brothers and sisters and we carry those values and tradition of our school. We all are in different specialties and we come together when in need. This is another occasion for physicians from JNVC to come together. I have communicated with them about my idea of health camp through our Whatsapp group. So far I have got overwhelming support from them. We will have physicians from different specialties like cardiology, diabetology, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedics, neonatology, ophthalmology, family medicine, infectious disease, psychiatry, obesity and nutrition.
You say the total patient turnaround should be 4,000 in one day and President Ross contributed money for expenses. Is there anything else you want to say about working on this year’s Health Camp?
Yes, I expect around 4,000 people turnaround and that is a huge number in one day! I feel proud about myself being associated with UMHS and I wanted to use the UMHS St. Kitts name and logo in the banner during this camp. Hence I wrote a permission request e-mail to President Ross. Not only has President Ross given permission to use UMHS name in the banner but also he was generous and kind in offering financial support for this event. The money that President Ross has offered is more than sufficient to make this event successful. Any money that will be left over after the health camp will be spent for the healthcare needs of poor and needy people of our village. I just want to say thank you to the generosity shown by President Ross.
YouTube Video of Dr. Mungli’s Health Camp in Rural India, January 2016
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