Sunday, August 5, 2018

A fabulous new doctor in the slums!

Immunizations in collaboration with municipal health authorities
After two years of operation of the Shravan Health Center (SHC), GPM and Doctors4You conducted a comprehensive internal evaluation about the impact of the SHC on the Kalwa community of 200,000 people. The findings include significant positive outcomes, including very successful immunization programs that increased the proportions of immunization in children by 20%. 

Dr. Swetambari Thanawala and patient part 
of the monthly GPM medical check up 
We are also pleased to report that the municipal health authorities regularly use the SHC for workshops and public programs such as eye exams, vaccination camps, diabetes testing, hygiene education, and other vital health issues. The Dr. Gerald J. Friedman Infant Malnutrition Intervention Program has been very effective as well as the Birthday Health Club and the monthly dermatology and diabetes clinics. The number of children who have been treated at the SHC has met our projected target of almost 600 a month or 7000 children a year!

Eye examinations and workshop run by Doctors 4 You
in collaboration with the Indian Cancer Society at the SHC
The one primary area in which we found crucial need for improvement was around women. Our evaluation showed that very few women came to the clininc for their own care, in particular for gynecological issues. In consideration of the fact that the SHC is meant for children and maternal care, this was a glaring loss. Upon further examination, community surveys and consultation with the SHC staff, we discovered that the reason why the women were not coming was because the doctors were male, and women were not comfortable seeking the medical care of male doctors in private issues.  Whether this is because of Indian culture or women's private concerns, the result was that women were not receiving the medical care that we were hoping to offer them -- care that they need and deserve.
Women's Health workshop run by Dr. Swetambari Thanawala

As a result of this discovery, GPM decided to recruit a female OB/GYN and pediatrician. In July Dr. Swetambari Thanawala began working at the SHC!

Already in her first month, Dr. Thanawala's presence has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of women seeking treatment and the goal is for more and more women will come to the clinic as word of Dr. Thanawala's activities with GPM.

Dr. Swetambari Thanawala in action
Dr. Thanawala is also very engaged with the community and has held an open community workshop on women's health at the Shravan Health Center last week.

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