Medical mission touches the 'unreachable'
Top: Volunteer surgeons from District 3080 operate on patients during a massive seven day medical mission in the tribal district Mandla of Madhya Pradesh, India, in March. Photo courtesy of District 3080
Bottom: Villagers of the tribal district of Mandla of Madhya Pradesh, India, register for Project RAHAT, a massive medical mission, in March. Photo courtesy of District 3080
During a massive seven-day medical mission in March, a team of 37 doctors and volunteers from District 3080 provided care to about 50,000 people in the remote tribal district of Mandla, Madhya Pradesh, India.
Organized by Past RI President Rajendra K. Saboo and Vivek Tankha, additional solicitor general of India and past governor of District 3260, several health camps offered medical exams, dental procedures, and surgeries to a population with limited access to health care.
The team included 24 doctors and surgeons, nine volunteers, and four medical assistants.
"This was an exercise where vocational service was at its best, where doctors made their knowledge and talents totally available to serve humanity," Saboo said. "We were able to reach the unreachable."
Saboo -- who has organized a number of medical missions since 1998 to countries including Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, Nigeria, Swaziland, and Uganda -- said this effort far exceeded the others in terms of number of patients seen.
Tankha worked with Madhya Pradesh officials to identify the Mandla district as the location for Project RAHAT (Rotary's Active Hands Are Touching). The state government commissioned the support of about 400 medical volunteers.
The magnitude of the effort exceeded Tankha's expectations.
"The patient turnout, voluntary assistance rendered by Rotary and the state government, and the sight of the entire task force working under the banner of Rotary was something which I neither anticipated nor imagined," he said. "This mission presents a perfect example of people's participation towards a healthy society."
The medical camps were organized by treatment type. Four venues -- Mandla District Hospital, Katra Hospital, Yogiraj Hospital, and the local Red Cross -- received new equipment and other enhancements to handle an increased patient load.
The doctors and volunteers performed 3,500 dental procedures and 2,000 major surgeries, including reconstructive surgery, orthopedic work, and eye operations.
Subhash Garg, director of the medical mission and past governor of District 3080, said the many remarkable surgeries included the removals of a uterine tumor for one patient and a cataract for another -- a 105-year-old man.
"After completing this mission, there was a sense from the team of complete satisfaction," Garg said. "All Rotarians involved had a joyous feeling because we were able to contribute something so big."