An exposure to the Indian Rural Healthcare system
The standards of medication might not be similar in all parts of the world. Our Nursing program students realised this when they flew from Australia to India to explore the healthcare system here. This program was designed for the students of Charles Sturt University, to expand students' understanding of health delivery to families and communities in a majority world country (India). The BEYOND BORDERS Nursing Program helped the Australian students get a good understanding of the link between the physical, ecological, social, political environments and human health. Students gained an insight into basic health service delivery across rural India; as well the nurses' role in health promotion,chronic disease prevention and how the Government of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare provides health services run by local people.
Our bunch of Aussie students arrived in India and they were escorted to the BEYOND BORDERS guest house at Malavli. The next morning the students had a special orientation program with us. At the orientation, they were fully briefed about the program and their volunteering sessions at various locations. Followed by the orientation, the students were split into groups for further action. The students were very excited and at the same time nervous as they were new to the country.
The journey began at different locations for all the groups. The groups spent the initial days at three major hospitals in the rural parts of India. These were Kamat Hospital, Parakh Hospital and Shradha Hospital. One common thing that many students noticed in all three hospitals was shortage of doctors. This led to overcrowded consultation rooms. At the same time they also noticed a big difference in terms of hygiene when compared to their own country Australia. But they got an answer to this question when they interacted with the head doctors of these hospitals.
On their visit to Kamat Hospital, the students had a long interactive session with Dr. Abhay Kamat and his wife who run the hospital together. They revealed the reality about rural healthcare system in India. They said they had to formulate treatments keeping in mind the financial conditions of the people here. And due to lack of funds, hygiene was also a big problem. But our students were quite happy with the way these doctors treated the patients with care. Some of our students also got to observe operations and also learned a lot from those operations.
The second week seemed to be more exciting for the students as they visited the MIMER Medical College and Hospital. Here our students got to learn a lot as they visited the OPD sections and also got to see anatomy. They also had the opportunity to interact with the nursing students of India and local people. This interaction surely pleased our students. Along with these experiences some of the students also had the opportunity to attend an Indian naming ceremony. It was totally a new experience for them. The weekend was well planned and the students got a chance to visit Delhi and Agra.
In the final week our groups visited Primary Healthcare Centre, L&T Hospital and Kalpataru Hospital. The students got an exposure to various healthcare departments and treatment techniques in all these places. They also visited Dharavi, one of the largest slum areas and carried out research. The last few days were filled with entertainment. The students were taken to Mumbai’s famous café – Café Mondegar. Followed by the brunch there, they entered the Colaba market and did some street-shopping. According to the majority of students, the graduation dinner was one of the best moments of this program.
Some were doomed with the poor rural life of India, while a few other students were happy as they learned new ways of treatment. With a lot of knowledge and experience the Aussies left for their country happily with some good memories.