SHORT SUPPLIES OF MEDICINES, NO PROTEIN SUPPLEMENTS STOCK WITH THE MANAGMENT
MELGHAT MAITRI has been serving the Melghat Region since the last 14 years and one wonders what kind of management it was during the DHADAK MOHIM 2011? I along with all the volunteers at Paankhalya Base Camp was surprised because there was no stock of “Protein Supplements” at all... I was surprised to see only one packet of Protein Supplement was given to one malnourished child for just one day... when I enquired from Suresh Sabale (a medical student from Pune), the Group Leader, he said – ‘What to do... I have asked and requested them many a times but they have not send the stock.’
This was something very serious and shows the callous and careless attitude of the management for they were serving the Melghat Region where the so-called malnutrition deaths are known and they didn’t had the most important Protein Supplement in their stock... so one wonders is MALNUTRITION DEATHS in Melghat a DEMONIC MYTH created by the MEDIA, Government officials, Leaders and NGOs serving there? At the Orientation at arrival we were told by Dr. Ajit Roy that deaths are mainly due to pneumonia and medicines not reaching the villagers. Malnutrition deaths are rare in this region... and so very true it was because while serving the four villages – Paankhalya, Gambhiri, Nagodhana and Khaparkheda, we got only 6 cases of malnutrition among infants... each village comprised of more than 100 to 150 families in average. So the reality of malnutrition deaths in Melghat Region is media hyped. I requested Suresh to keep asking for Protein Supplement... we begged for full four days with the management but it seemed they were just not hearing our plea... There were major shortfalls of medicines that the camp didn’t have... Suresh left after his 10 days but the Protein Supplements did not arrived.
DETTOL was another antiseptic lotion that was totally missing in almost every base camps... imagine the management just wanted us to treat the villagers without cleaning their wounds or boils... after four long days of repeated requests and begging, finally Ram Phad arrived with 6 small bottles of Hydrogen Peroxide and very humbly gave us three and another three to Priyanka Kumari, Group Leader of Khaari Base Camp...which was not sufficient to divide for four villages to cater. When I asked about the Protein Supplements... he said – ‘aayega aaj kal mein (will come in a day or two)’ – I was furious about their careless attitude and finally I told Ram, “Please send 20 packets of Protein Supplement even if you have to buy it and I shall pay the amount.” That very night, late at night Rajaram came with 20 packets... and so also a good stock of medicines.
The reason being I had told Group Leader Shambhaji (MSW student from Satara) that if the medicines and Protein Supplements will not arrive today, tomorrow I will ask every volunteer to stay at the camp and not enter villages with proper and all medicines to serve the poor villagers. I am sure the message was conveyed to the management and hence that day everything arrived. One really wonders as to why the management had not stocked the required medicines in respective base camps when the camp was almost one month old? Why there was such a major shortfall of all the required medicines? That night Rajaram revealed that every camp is facing the shortfall.
The same night, Dr. Ture also arrived and we had a good interactive session with him. I told him everything about the shortfall of medicines, dettol, and there was no stock of bandages for dressing... Dr. Ture assured me that the very next day the shortfall will arrive and I am indeed grateful to him because for two consecutive days, he sent us good stock of Protein Supplements and other required medicines after I asked Satyajit to prepare a list of deficiencies. I really don’t know if other 8 Base Camps were as lucky as our Base Camp to get a good stock of medicines.
However, after those two good days (thanks to Dr. Ture), the stock never arrived again till I was there (1st September) and the shortfall continued as we were serving the sick in four villagers to cut a sorry figure in front of the villagers when we didn’t have the required medicines for patients. Can you believe that once the volunteers were dropped at the respective Base Camps, we were on our own... no one to really ask what you need? What are the problems you are facing? Is everything alright? There was no Daily Stock Taking of Medicines from the Management... there was no follow up by them... there was no one, one could really project one’s helplessness...
Concerned citizen from various parts of India were kind enough to send me medicines... Sanjiv Chhabria - Mumbai, Uma Iyer - Noida, Rohit Chhabria & Tarana Masand – Mumbai, Vijay Beleri – Mumbai and Dr. Anandita Jaiswal Malik – Raipur had sent us medicines worth Rs. 25-30,000 in total... this stock surely came in handy and arrived timely to serve the villagers. The management has failed miserably for the fact that non-availability of required medicines not being given to volunteers to serve the poor villagers shows how well the MISMANAGEMENT was at work.
And on 30th August when I projected the problems, Dr. Ajit Roy said – ‘You all are here to counsel the villagers about medicines. You are not here to make them dependent by giving them medicines.’ Volunteers were aghast to hear this from a Dr. Who told nothing about ‘Counselling’ at our arrival.... a mere 20 minutes Orientation about Diarrhea and Pneumonia and Dr. Roy declares all of us as doctors... the approach to serve the poor at Dhadak Mohim 2011 with improper orientation, no statistical records of malnourished children in respective village, short supply of medicines, no stock of Protein Supplements, no Dettol and the points I have discussed so far since 2nd September about Total Mismanagement has surely opened my and other volunteers eyes...
Responsible citizen who chipped in with donations and medicines are angry about all the mismanagement... I really wonder why they didn’t try their level best to rectify their flaws when it was projected to them! WHY? This BIG WHY will haunt everyone who was connected with DHADAK MOHIM!
(... to be continued...)