NEW YORK: American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) Drs Thakor G. Patel, Padmini Balagopal and Ranjita Misra did a study in four rural villages in India and determined that access to care and preventive care was a huge problem along with a high prevalence of diabetes and hypertension.
Four studies in rural Alamarathupatti, Samiyarpatti and Pillayar Natham in the state of Tamilnadu and another in the village of Karakhadi, in the state of Gujarat showed villagers had marginal access to health care and that there were no primary health care centers that could manage the chronic diseases.
Seventy per cent of the population in India lives in the villages (700 million people) and the importance of educating and delivering healthcare to this large base of India in its resource-poor settings is an urgent and viable issue. Large-scale efforts to improve general awareness about diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, its risk factors, and to promote healthy lifestyles, must be undertaken.
Appalled by this sordid state of affairs, a young Indian origin physician, Dr Raj Patel, is determined to contribute his mite to alleviate this problem and as a first step in this direction has embarked on a six-day trip to India visiting six villages in six districts in the State of Gujarat for a first hand understanding of the problem and compiling data for future course of action.
In a talk to this paper, Dr Raj said that this was part of Sevak project and that he will be traveling to at least six villages during the trip. The villages to be covered are Agiya village (Sabarkantha district), Manek Champa (Banaskantha district), Bhadrod (Bhavnagar district), Karakhdi (Vadodara), Galiba (Bharuch district) and Chipady (Kheda district).
“My role as a US physician “will be to gather information with the help from the Sevak volunteers who reside in each of the six villages. I will be collecting data on how and where villagers get their care and how far they have to travel. I will be monitoring prevalence of Hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus and see availability of medications for these diseases.
I will be monitoring addiction to habits such as smoking, tobacco chewing and alcohol,” he said
Besides, he will gather information on number of pregnant patients screened for diabetes and hypertension, number of vaccinated children, changes in the Chulas with outside ventilation, number of new toilets because of education provided by Sevak and the number of patients referred for treatment.
Dr Raj has been awarded Outstanding Service Award for Young Physician- American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI-NJ/NY Charitable Foundation) – April 2011
He has chaired Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (GAPIO) and presented papers about the future of healthcare pertaining to young physicians, residents and medical students, New Delhi, India 2011 & Jersey City, NJ -2012
He has been the President of Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (GAPIO), Young Physicians Section, since 2010.
Dr Raj has also participated in HIV and Hepatitis C clinical trials at Dr. Jihad Slim- Saint Michaels Medical Center, Newark NJ.