To bring health care services to communities and people who are unable to utilize present services due to inaccessibility or socio-economic reasons.
Story of Manjima .The small girl with spinabifida
Sri Sarada Math Ernakulam is located in Kerala, in the heart of the city of Ernakulam. Established in September 1987 it runs an Old Age Home for women. The residents of the Home come from diverse backgrounds including doctors, teachers and government officials.
When Sri Sarada Math Ernakulam decided to participate in Chandramoni Prakalpa, the residents of the Home organized themselves into a project team. The residents’ various contacts in the community are the primary evaluation team. Each team is comprised of doctors and government officials who identify and evaluate communities and patients needing assistance from the center. The teams then recommend patients to the center. The center prioritizes the patients by need and focus of the program. The center’s primary focus is elderly women, people with mental and developmental difficulties and patients with terminal illnesses. The patients then receive medicines (after supplying doctor’s prescription and recommendation letter, and medical history), Nutritive Food Packets and other preventative healthcare items such as blankets, clothes, sheets etc.. Items received by each patient are determined on the patient’s needs as determined by the doctors’ in the project team (residents of the Home).
Certain patients receive extra assistance as their needs are greater and the project team determines that aiding the one patient will have a beneficial effect on multiple people (such as the whole family or a community). One such patient was 7 year old Manjima who suffers from Spina Bifida. Spina bifida is a birth defect where there is incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord. The most common location is the lower back. Associated problems include poor ability to walk, problems with bladder or bowel control and other problems.
Manjima’s family was first identified and introduced to Sri Sarada Math in 2014 through their volunteer network working in Thrippunithura near Kochi, 8.4 km from Ernakulam. Her family consisted of her mother Radhika (39 yrs) her father Anilkumar and her older sister Malavika (9 yrs). Radhika is a severely diabetic, who due to their financial condition was not able to afford proper medicines or nutrition, resulting in multiple complications from diabetes including surgery. Anilkumar is the sole breadwinner for the family. His income is at the best of times just sufficient to cover the most basic needs of a family. It is not sufficient to meet the special needs of either Manjima or her mother.
When the family was introduced to the center it was in disarray. The children had long stopped going to school. Radhika’s blood sugar level was out of control resulting in many complications and was not able to take care of her family. The severe pressures from the family’s needs were resulting in Anilkumar to turn to other vices thus putting further strain on the family’s finances.
The center provided not only medical and other support, they counseled the family. The center assisted Anilkumar in purchasing an auto-rickshaw to increase his income and bring the family onto more stable financial footing. Through the center’s counseling, Anilkumar gave up his vices and focused on caring and providing for the family.
The center provided Radhika with medicines for her diabetes and related complications, including assistance in getting surgery for her infected feet. The center also helped the family purchase a commode so that her infected feet would get better care. Radhika is now able take care of her family as her diabetes is under control as well as the related complications. This has helped provide a stable environment for the family.
Treatment for Manjima’s Spina Bifida will be a lifelong process. Her illness made it impossible for her to walk, control her bladder and also caused continuous infections in her body. The center helped her get a necessary surgery on her spine which has now allowed her to walk with the aid of a walker provided by the center. The center also provides her with diapers which are needed as she will never gain control of her bladder. Other medicines are being provided to treat the recurring infections in her system. With the aid of the walker and the diapers, Manjima is now able to regularly attend school in 3rd standard. With her home life stable, Malavika is also able to attend school.
In school both girls have shown themselves to be intelligent students with an eagerness to learn and a happy nature. The smile and confidence seen on the faces of Radhika and Anilakumar and both their daughters is very encouraging.