With Kaiwara as our focal point, we cater to a population of 20,000 spread across 23 villages in the Chikkaballapur District of Karnataka.
On the ground, we collaborate with the local panchayat, the Sri Kaiwara Yoginareyana Ashram, the Primary Health Centre and other sub-centres, Anganwadi workers (grassroots level workers of the Women and Child Welfare Department) under the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme, the Education Department and teachers.
80 per day
Only Government Clinic in
a 15-kilometre radius
Padma is a 27-year-old woman who lives in Kaiwara. Her last two pregnancies were complicated and resulted in miscarriages. Despite this however, her desire to experience motherhood did not diminish and Padma refused to give up. She learnt about the antenatal check-up conducted by the Primary Health Centre (PHC) in Kaiwara during her third difficult pregnancy.
A young but informed medical intern there on a survey, recommended that Padma get a check-up. Worried about the costs and unable to afford a private hospital, she was told about the free facilities and services at the PHC.
After regular check-ups at the PHC and with medication to maintain her blood pressure, she delivered a healthy baby.
Padma is just one of the many individuals who has received timely healthcare, thanks to the Primary Health Centre. The PHC conducts surveys and awareness initiatives for villagers, on various relevant issues such as STDs, antenatal check-ups, post-natal check-ups, leprosy, geriatric care, dengue, malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases. The villagers are encouraged to come for primary treatment to the government-supported PHC and sent to the Government Community Health Centre in the nearby Chintamani District in case secondary problems, or the need for surgeries, arises.
Medical interns from the Medical College spend the first half of their field day at Kaiwara, generating awareness on various health problems and providing information on the numerous National Health Programmes. This has helped the villagers improve their health and well-being, as well as their financial condition.
The medical interns spend the second half of their day assisting the PHC’s Medical Officer in the OPD by administrating injections, collecting blood samples and prescribing basic medication.
Number of patients:
40 per day
8 chair facility
Nagaraj is a 25-year-old man. On a fateful day last year, while on his way home, he met with an accident on his motorcycle. Although he recovered from most of his injuries, there was one that left a lasting, emotional impact on him: the loss of his two front teeth.
On learning that even a mere check-up at a private dental clinic cost Rs. 200, Nagaraj lost hope of ever getting the prohibitively expensive dental implants. His self-esteem also suffered as a result.
It was around this time that he learnt about the Ramaiah Dental Clinic in Kaiwara. He got both his teeth implanted at 1/10th the cost. He often suggests, mildly, to the orthodontist that she should run for the public office.
At the Ramaiah Dental Clinic, the interns from the Faculty of Dental Sciences, University of Applied Sciences are such agents of change. They assist the two permanent doctors at the Clinic in Kaiwara with extraction, filling and scaling, gradually evolving to root canals during their rotating one month stay there.
Approximately 500 patients with various problems and varying degrees of awareness come from far and near to consult them. They practice comprehensive care – from educating their patients on basic practices to counselling them on post surgical care. For many, this is the only affordable dental facility in the entire district.
The Ramaiah Dental Clinic conducts a free Denture Camp every year, providing close to 40 free dentures to those in need. Here, there is no compromise on quality and efforts are made to provide the effectiveness of the best dental practices at subsidised rates.
“It was challenging at first… the language, being an all-rounder, welcoming the patient, educating them, sterilising equipment, managing the money… However, after spending almost 15 days at the Dental Clinic, I started bonding with some patients, especially the ones who came for repeat visits for treatments like root canal. It took me the longest to break the scepticism of one elderly man. He didn’t even understand what a cavity was, let alone allow me to insert some metallic instruments into his mouth to relieve the pain. I spent almost an hour explaining the procedure to him, the necessity and the eventual benefits of it. But once I gained his trust, he was so grateful. It is such a humbling experience. This is what inspires me to continue in my profession. Rajan Kaka’s almost full-toothed smile in the last session is imprinted as the strongest memory I will take back with me.”
Dental Intern (22)
60 from 36 villages
Sharada is a 6-year-old girl from the village of Kaiwara. A few months after she was born, her parents sensed that she wasn’t like other children. She had flat facial features and difficulty hearing. As she grew older, she showed very limited signs of mental development. She often got violent with her little brother. Neighbours and relatives advised her family to tie her to a tree, claiming that she wasn’t stable enough to run free with other children.
Sharada’s parents were left concerned and dejected, with no idea of how to help their little girl. This is when they heard of the Spandana Resource Centre.
Spandana is a special school for mentally challenged children and a resource centre for parents.
In a survey in 2005, covering 36 villages around Kaiwara, Ramaiah Medical College identified 40 children with mental challenges. The Centre was subsequently set up in December, 2006 and today caters to 60 students in and around Kaiwara. Run by experienced teachers, this centre provides learning opportunities for these children and offers them the care they deserve.
Some of the facilities offered are:
- Comprehensive multi-skill training
- Vocational training by professionals in candle making and lamp making
- Play area for children equipped with user-friendly toys and appliances, as well as activities like Kho-Kho and throwball
- Free school bus pick-up and drop from respective villages to ensure accessibility
“Here we teach them basic things, cleanliness, toilet training, family introduction through flash cards and even picture recognition. We make them do activities – play Kho-kho, throwball, bead threading. Some are even able to take up candle making and toy making. The biggest satisfaction of working here, at Spandana, is seeing students who I have trained complete their 10th standard and even go to work.”
Setup of 2 tanks of 10,000
Providing water to 200
households in Kaiwara
In the Chikkaballapur District of Karnataka, most tanks and lakes are polluted leaving ground water as the sole resource for residents. However, this belt in South India is infamous as the fluoride belt and ground water sources are believed to be high on fluoride and therefore, unfit for human consumption.
This observation and obvious connection would have been missed if not for a school health examination conducted 6 years ago by the Department of Community Medicine, Medical College. The high number of stained teeth among children, though earlier attributed to bad oral hygiene, now looked like the symptoms of something more. The signs of high fluoride intake slowly became more obvious with kidney disorders, poor bone health, stained teeth and mental retardation.
After an analysis of water and urine samples, the hypothesis was confirmed: fluorosis was the problem.
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) was approached to discuss a sustainable solution and soon after, a reverse osmosis plant was set up in Kaiwara. Today, there are 2 tanks of 10,000 litres each; one provides reject water and the other, processed drinking water.
This purified water is supplied to over 200 households for a nominal fee of Rs. 5 per 25 litres.
“During each visit, we see the difference this project has made
in the lives of people, a difference that is sustainable.”
Department of Community Medicine, Medical College