Mobile Medical Services of Sri Gouranga Seva Sadan  

December 10, 2007: Providing free, quality medical services to the poor and sick was a concept extremely dear to Baba. Since He launched the Mobile Medical Vans, one each in Bhubaneshwar and Kolkata five years ago in 2002, Sri Gauranga Ashram’s medical outreach services have provided succour and relief to over 150,000 people in Orissa and West Bengal combined.

With Baba’s grace, the small dedicated team of his devotees and sevaks has kept the flag flying by holding regular monthly medical camps in and around Bhubaneshwar, on occasions going as far as Puri, Alarnath. Camps have been held even in Nawadweep and Murshidabad areas of West Bengal to reach out to the sick and needy in these places. At least one camp is held every month and this practice has been maintained even after Baba’s disappearance.

While larger camps are held further away from Bhubaneshwar and Kolkata (eg., Puri, Alarnath, Nawadweep), the regular camps are held in places at a distance of approximately 60 km – 90 km in and around Bhubaneshwar.

During the regular mobile medical camps, Dr. P.K. Mohanty, the physician in charge of the Sri Gauranga Seva Sadan Charitable Dispensary and the nurse, provide the necessary medical services. During a typical camp, medicines to the value of approx Rs.20,000 are required.

The locations of the camps are usually in public places such as a temple, orphanage, school or old-age home. The Bhubaneshwar mobile clinic provides regular services to the Shishu Graha orphanage, Tapovan school, schools for hearing and speech impaired (deaf-mute) children, blind schools and old-age and homes for destitute women in Bhubaneshwar. These are residential centres with virtually non-existent health facilities for the inmates.

The most common ailments observed and treated by the outreach camps are skin infections, worm infestations, respiratory tract disorders, pyrexia, common cold, acid-peptic disorders, eye infections, anaemia, malaria and filarial.

Detailed registers of the cases checked are maintained by the medical team and free medication distributed.  Additional tests and treatment is prescribed according to the gravity of the patient’s ailment.  Follow-up camps are also held and many times, previous patients are summoned to the camp for check-up and follow-up treatment.

Operating costs of a typical mobile camp, including medical supplies, fuel, clothes/food and honoraria for volunteer specialist doctors, works out to approx. Rs.30,000 per camp in the dry season, while during the rainy season the costs go up to approximately Rs.45,000 per camp.

As the target population is generally extremely poor, clothes and blankets are also distributed to the most needy. On special days, food is also distributed.

Most of the women are not even aware of birth control measures.  Early marriage and multiple childbirths leave the women severely anaemic and the children in various grades of malnutrition.

The next medical camp is scheduled to be held on 14 December 2007 at Srukrushna Home for Destitute Women in Bhubaneshwar.  The timings will be from 9 am to 2 p.m. and the team will consist of one gynaecologist, an eye specialist and a general physician plus nurse. Free check-up, medication and clothes will be distributed.