Flood relief activities by the MLD Trust and MLD organizations
Dr Anoop Nigwekar, MD (Hom), MBA
Professor and Head, Dept of Repertory, MLDMHI, Palghar & Director, Projects and Administration, MLD Trust
In August 2019, the Kolhapur and Sangli districts of southern Maharashtra were hit by unprecedented floods following heavy rains in Konkan and the western parts of Maharashtra. This natural calamity destroyed infrastructure including houses, roads, and bridges and caused the death of more than 50 people and many domestic animals and cattle. The economy of these districts is mainly based on agriculture, which was severely damaged from this flood.
We were in daily contact with our ICR members from Kolhapur who have demonstrated the highest level of humanitarian as well as clinical care in this most trying circumstance and made everyone proud. They arranged feeds, sheltered souls, gives free medicines by traversing hip deep waters searching for people and have been offering services at medical camps. They accepted the reality and were able to rise in these trying circumstances, despite substantial personal losses of their houses, farms. By not permitting mind to slip into low mood, pessimism and channeling personal crisis into service is a lesson which all can derive from their experience.
When we asked what help they want, they said “Please don’t get emotional, wait for the calamity to settle, the consequences are going to need us more”.
The Dr. M. L. Dhawale Memorial Trust, Mumbai has been working with the aim of providing medical care through homoeopathy in needy areas of community in urban, rural, and tribal areas in 3 states (Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Karnataka) over the last three decades. Responding to this unprecedented natural calamity, the MLDMHI team decided to organize flood relief camp Dr Anoop Nigwekar (Professor and Head, Dept of Repertory, MLDMHI) and Dr Sunil Bhalinge (Associate Professor, Dept of Organon of Medicine, MLDMHI) communicated about financial contributions from ICR members and help from the Trust and coordinated with physicians of ICR Kolhapur Study group, and MLDMHI Alumni Kolhapur Chapter. Dr Kaniyalal Pandya (Associate Professor, Dept of Paediatrics, MLDMHI) also volunteered to join the camp. Local group members identified Sangli areas on the banks of Krishna river the worst affected. Trustee, Shri Prithviraj Patil of Gulabrao Patil Homoeopathic Medical College and the staff led by Principal Dr Mehte and his team were already working in the area. Our team joined them on 2 days: 30th and 31st August 2019.
Day 1 of Camp at Magarmaccha Colony, Sangli – on the banks of the Krishna River, on 30th August 2019.
The MLDMHI team comprised 2 teachers (Dr Sunil Bhalinge, Dr Kaniyalal Pandya); 4 PG students (Drs Vansh, Chetan, Ashutosh, Suyash); MLDMHI Alumni Kolhapur chapter lead by Dr Vilas Satpute, Dr Ranjit Dhole, Dr Sulakshana Dhole, Dr Vivek Ghadge, Dr Usha Ghadge & ICR study Group members Dr Pravin Vadgave & Dr Ajay Hanmane) participated in the camp along with Team from Gulabrao Patil HMC Sangli. Dr Mehte and Dr Vivek Ghadge – our local coordinator and college staff had discussed the preparation and our plan.
The college had been conducting camps in flood affected areas since last three weeks They had been doing home visits (24 teams of 5 each) and had covered about 60,000 houses and mostly distributed Allopathic medicines.
All of us reached the camp site at Magarmaccha colony on the banks of the Krishna river, the worst affected area that was submerged 3 weeks ago. On entering the area, we saw all the electronic gadgets, TV sets, and furniture thrown out of the houses. The roofs of many houses were missing or broken or left hanging. As soon as our vehicle reached the camp site, to our surprise, patients started lining up outside our ambulance and the nearby mosque. We started seeing in patients in open, and heavy down pour started. Mrs Bidewale and Dr Yelligoda, local coordinators who stay in same locality; immediately contacted leaders in locality, made arrangement in Bagwaan community hall. The team swiftly organised itself and started seeing patients in the hall. We saw total 100 patients from 11.30 am to 4 pm.
The cases of various musculoskeletal rheumatic complaints, acute exacerbations of degenerative joint complaints, skin disorders, children with acute affections, and respiratory complaints were seen in large numbers. Most of them had already received allopathic medicines but not were better with the treatment. Along with Homoeopathic medicines, patients were also educated to maintain hygiene, boil water before drinking, and maintain sanitation. The MLDMHI team advised all patients to follow up at the college OPD and clinic of our local team member at minimum cost.
Dr Patil, who visited the site in afternoon appreciated our work was shocked that we have prescribed homoeopathic medicine to all patients. We were told by the Principal that patients do not accept homoeopathy here, so they were distributing allopathic medicines.
With the experience of Day 1, we had a brief meeting and indicated to organise the next day’s camp, its timing and publicity with help of the local social leaders.
Day 2 – on 31st August, the camp was arranged at Pasayadan Vidyamandir, Dattanagar, Sangli. This locality was heavily flooded a few days prior. The whole one storey school building was submerged under water. The classrooms were damp and stinking. Children from nearby localities, who had returned to their homes after flooding, came to the school. A local school boy proactively came and asked how he can help us. Immediately our team from Palghar joined him for and went house to house informing people regarding free health check-up camp in school. Ten 3rd BHMS students from Gulabrao Patil HMC College joined us.
Most people came up with complaints of fever, body ache, joint pains, and skin complaints. Respiratory complaints and fever were most commonly seen in children. Many of them were taking homoeopathic medicines for the first time in their life. We were therefore orienting them about the effectiveness and safety of these medicines.
We got to meet a few elderly people who were emotionally affected by the losses due to flood. The second day of camp was grand success as we collectively served 220 patients. It concluded at 4 pm. Even after we were moving out many patients came, who were advised to visit local clinic of our team member for free treatment.
One of the local boy of 14 years was helping around everyone and guiding the patients. This boy wrote a small report indicating that he got motivated to be a doctor seeing a group of doctors doing selfless community service. But as he has no father and mother works door to door as maid he cannot become one. While he scores distinction marks in school in all subjects, but has poor financial condition. We were moved by this young boy’s words, and have decided to take care of this child and take responsibility of his education to become a doctor.
Many schools and colleges also affected by the flood and ultimately student lost their books, educational material. We identified one school from Kolhapur district, Shiye High school, Shiye in which the flood-affected students needed school uniforms as they lost them in the flood. Our trust helped them by providing school uniforms to 60 students. One of the students from Shiye village, Miss Mayuri Sanjay Gosawi, lost her engineering books as her whole house was under water for 10 days; we donated engineering books to her.
\Another flood affected school from Khapanewadi, near Bajar Bhogav village (Dr Avinash Patil’s home) needed a water purifier for their students. We installed a water purifier in the school that will benefit 400 students from that school.
A flood affected old lady and young girl were helped by our institute with household materials and dresses.
Learning Shared by III B.H.M.S Students of GPHMC, Sangli
- Pre-planning an event enables greater success in less time, as seen on the 2nd day of the camp.
- Time as well as event management is very important.
- All physicians were sensitised by the plight shared by a few elders.
- Importance of receiving, communication of psychologically affected people due to natural calamities, and case taking in community disasters.
- LSMC format for Diagnosis, Differential remedial diagnosis, and Quick prescription by using Repertory at the bedside.
- Students witnessed the integration of theory and practice.
- These activities helped to needy people in the flood-affected area. As a part of the MLD organization we reach to the ground to connect to community for help. This activity also benefitted to students of MLDMHI and GPHMC to interact with community and serve to needy people.
- They have stated that they want more such field experiences to be arranged by the college in community care through homoeopathy.
Learning Shared by MLDMHI PG Students
“When I heard the news about Sangli flood I felt very sad and thought can we help them by joining camp. But I did not find any homoeopathic camp. I decided I will help them in the future. On Tuesday 27th August 2019, I heard the news from Chetan and Vansh. I felt this is a golden opportunity to help sick people,”
Dr Ashutosh Lohiya (PG Student, Dept of Repertory, MLDMHI, Palghar)
“I am extremely thankful to our faculty members who allowed me to attend this camp. In field work, I could see the troubles one goes though when their home is washed away”
Dr Vansh Luniya (PG Student, Dept of Repertory, MLDMHI, Palghar)
Lessons to be learnt:
- Network with as many as we can. This can often provide an unlikely support system; for example, Dr Bidewale’s pro-activeness and gesture of delicious food.
- Network within your institute. We learnt that each individual contributes according to their capacity. We should not brood if we cannot contribute the way we want, but focus on contributing in any way we can.
- Alumni has to be informed very proactively of what was done and how it can be done by them too. There are only two types of Homoeopathic teachers – ones who teach only theory and others who demonstrate the actual application of theory to practice, through the principles of action learning.
- Stand on your strength (in this case homoeopathy). Everyone has a weakness; we are better off demonstrating our system’s strength than pointing fingers at others’ weaknesses.
- Data capturing in a standardised format helps a long way to ensure that homoeopathy moves from therapy to science of healing.
- Leadership does not evolve spontaneously, but needs the correct time and space – Dr Vivek, Dr Vilas, Dr Sunil, Dr Pandya, Dr Ajay, and Dr Pravin are prime examples of this. This is live action learning.
- In today’s world where there is constant feeling by many that the goodness is vanishing from the world and people are not doing good deeds without any selfish motives, we thank Dr. Prithviraj Patil for reaffirming our faith in going good and making us believing in doing “good at no cost”!!!