Health Awareness Camps
It goes without saying that the prevalent, recurrent health problems of the women and girls are a reflection of poverty, deprivation, neglect. Anemia and malnutrition are at exceedingly high levels and women between 18-25 years record the highest level of anemia, low immunity levels and borderline malnutrition. The women are easy prey to illness and disease. Other common illnesses include upper respiratory infections, diarrhea, dysmenorrheal, excess bleeding in menstruation, irregular menstruation cycle, white discharge, early arthritis, osteoporosis, and other bacterial diseases.
Shaheen has facilitated regular health programmes during the year. Health camps are conducted regularly in collaboration with Dr. Humaira Sikander Ali, paediatrician and physician. The camps focus on seasonal illnesses and other health related problems.
The start to the medical camps this year began with a two day camp for the victims of communal violence in Hyderabad, in April 2010. In the event, the women and girls underwent medical checkups and special gynaecological counselling. Attending doctors were able to communicate the various health problems through the discussions and the women were also given medicines.
Ahead of the aforementioned event, Shaheen organized regular health checkups, weekly clinics and discussions. The camps were able to motivate the women to attend to one’s own health and well-being. Topics for discussion include nutrition, anemia, menopause, menstrual problems, common STDs, breast feeding, swine flu, jaundice.
Shaheen also successfully organised school health checkup in which students and teachers were taught health and hygiene maintenance tools. These are all ongoing attempts to filter in health knowledge and to bust the myths and taboos surrounding health and nutrition. Shaheen also organised interactions with principals of more than thirteen college and schools. Along with the health initiatives, they were also sensitised to the Domestic Violence Act. The outcome was positive. Government School, Mughalpura and Sultan Shahi, Chaitanya School, Vijaylakshmi School, Standard School, were some of the institutions that were part of the health initiative. In the Social Science classes, gender and other social issues were discussed while in the Science classes Dr. Humaira spoke on health and disease.
In another event, Dr. Humaira spoke to young girls about the ill-effects of climate change upon the health of women. She spoke about the high incidence of skin and uterus cancer consequent to global warming. Dr Humaira informed on personal hygiene and the different ways by which illnesses can be identified. Emphasising on personal hygiene she informed different ways of identifying illnesses and the measures to be undertaken.
The benefits of the health initiatives have been immediate and tangible. For insance, during one of these meetings, Shaheen staff identified a 24 year old girl who had lost a lot of weight – she had lost appetite and had fever, almost always. She was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) in the pelvis-uterus tubes and was subsequently moved to the TB centre and placed under intensive care. Another woman complained of repeated abdominal pain, fever and vomit. She was a severe case of appendicitis and underwent laparoscopic surgical intervention.