Dr. Prakash Mungli, UMHS Chair of Department of Molecular Sciences, Professor of Biochemistry, and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, helped people in his native India for the second year in a row over the recent winter break (December 2016). UMHS was proud to sponsor the event.
The UMHS Endeavour spoke to Dr. Mungli about his second Free Health Camp in India during which a staff of 27 doctors from various specialties treated approximately 2,000 patients.
UMHS Endeavour: Tell us about this year’s Health Camp. You saw about 2,000 patients from your village and surrounding villages in a day. With a total of 27 doctors of different specialties including dentists and alternative medicine physicians, you all did more than 1,500 blood glucose tests, 150 EKGs, more than 50 spirometry tests for chronic lung disease, did eye tests for more than 200 patients, and distributed medicine to every patient. What are some of the things you and the doctors learned this year about treating these patients?
Dr. Prakash Mungli: First of all, I sincerely thank all my Navodaya School alumni physician friends and all the organizations and volunteers and UMHS as a sponsor for making this event a huge success.
It was a satisfying experience for all the 27 doctors, including me, in being able to listen to and help little more than 2,000 patients in a day. All the doctors not only experienced ways to address huge number of patients in a short time available. It was a great learning experience for all the doctors and little more than 50 volunteers while organizing this big Health Camp. Having been able to conduct this Health Camp successfully I myself improved my organizing skills in a much better way. It was an inspiring event for my physician friends and for the youths in our village. Of course my physician friends and myself have learnt about common disorders my villagers and people around my village are suffering from. We could correlate some of the social issues with the disorders commonly seen. This will definitely help me and my physician friends to properly plan preventive measures or any programs that we may plan in future in addressing these issues.
You mentioned meeting with around seven regional news agencies about the Health Camp. What was the press coverage like of the Health Camp in India?
Myself along with the President of our village Youth Association, and Mr. SriShaila a member of people’s organization had a press meet with around seven local and regional news reporters. I have told the reporters about our aims and objectives the Health Camp. I have explained them how this kind of health camps can help people in need. I have also made a special mention about how President Ross has sponsored this event. All reporters who have attended the press meet were all in praises for the event and about UMHS in sponsoring this event. News appeared in all the seven newspapers about the event. Not only this, the news about this Health Camp was covered on the local cable television network. We have used 5,000 pamphlets and local three-wheeler announcing system to spread the news.
On the day of the Health Camp, about four reporters attended the Health Camp to cover the news. Equally both news reporters and people were all in appreciation for the doctors and UMHS for making this event successful. All in all there was a positive atmosphere everywhere.
What are some of the other great accomplishments of this year’s Health Camp?
In comparison to my last year’s Health Camp, the Health Camp this year was in great strength and magnitude. It was a big event where we were able to treat a little over 2,000 people. On top of it all, we were able to do investigation and distribute full course of medication free of cost. This Health Camp has made specialist and super specialist being available for the needy people at their place. We could able to detect severe cardiac and renal conditions and were able to follow them up with further investigation and treatment.
Do you plan to do another Health Camp and if so, will you be doing anything different?
Next year my physician friends and myself have planned to hold Health Camp of this magnitude in a different place than my village so that we will be able to give our service to people of other villages within our district. On a personal level, with the help of few of my physician friends, I have planned to conduct diabetes and hypertension Health Camp for the people of my village. I have also planned to conduct diabetes awareness programs with Rotary clubs and other organization in and around my village. I have also planned other academic and sports events for our village primary school kids and youths, respectively.
What are some of the common health problems in India and what can be done to help people there?
With the recently conducted Health Camp, we have learned that diabetes and hypertension is becoming prevalent in villagers. Orthopedic issues are the other prevalent problem our villagers are suffering from. We have correlated dietary habits and sedentary life style seems to be the major reason for the prevalence of diabetes and hypertension. Orthopedic issues are largely due to the kind of water villagers use that contains too much of fluoride and heavy metal ions. We are planning on conducting awareness camps about diabetes, lifestyle, dietary habits and also safe use of drinking water.
What can UMHS students and med students in general learn from the needs of patients in India?
I do share with UMHS students the kind of cases that I see in Health Camps in India. This helps UMHS students to understand type of cases that they can expect from developing countries like India. This will help UMHS students to learn and understand the medical needs of the people of developing countries.
Whenever I get an opportunity, I do share my experiences I gained from Health Camps that I conduct in India. UMHS students get to learn from those experiences, though indirectly, about the kinds of diseases that they can expect to see in developing countries like India. They can also learn about the number of people that need to be addressed in Health Camps like this.
It will be an inspiring thing for UMHS students to think and plan about ways to give back to society while they are still physicians in making and when they go on to become physicians. Many students here at UMHS have already approached me and shown their interest in giving their service for Health Camps like this. Some of them have shown interest in conducting this kind of health camps in their country of origin. All in all, this Health Camp is an inspiring event.
Is there anything else you want to say about the recent Health Camp?
Personally and on behalf of people of my village, I would like to thank UMHS in general and President Ross in particular for the generosity in sponsoring this Health Camp. UMHS name became popular in and around my villagers. UMHS sponsoring this Health Camp has appeared in seven regional newspapers and local cable network.
I believe UMHS is now a best example for foreign medical schools in reaching to people in need of medical help, especially in developing countries.
YouTube Video of Second Free Health Camp in India
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