Health

1200 chapatis, 45 kgs of rice, 95 kgs of vegetables, and 20 kgs of daal. This is just one meal cooked in the kitchen at KEM hospital every single day. Around 1700-1800 patients are admitted daily and the kitchen provides for their nutrition as they recover from various illnesses. People are often sceptical about the food provided by public hospitals because of concerns related to hygiene and quality. Especially in a city like Mumbai, thousands of patients visit public hospitals for treatment and are dependent on the facilities provided by the hospitals. Recently, the authorities at Mumbai’s largest, KEM hospital,…

Read more

Farzana Shaikh, a citizen from Kalina, Santacruz, worries as most of her family members catch stomach illnesses. As soon as she opens the water taps, only muddy water comes out. "During monsoon season, drinking water becomes contaminated; we cannot use it for drinking. We buy Bisleri for drinking, as the BMC water that comes into our home is very dirty. This happens every year in our building; people in my own house have diarrhoea and other stomach infections," says Farzana. Various stomach diseases spread due to contaminated water supplied to people's homes. Pic: Farzana Shaikh Malaria, dengue, leptospirosis, chikungunya, gastroenteritis,…

Read more

Deepali (name changed on request) was 22 when she was diagnosed with drug resistant tuberculosis in 2020. She had already lost about 12 kilograms and was immediately put on a heavy dose of antibiotics, including injectables. “Tuberculosis claimed her appetite, and the medicines prescribed to her had such severe side-effects that she was unable to eat anything and was throwing up after every dose of medicine,” says her mother.  When she could not tolerate the treatment, her family consulted Dr Lalit Anande, a noted TB-specialist, who advised her to eat anything that she found tasty and was easy-to-digest. He increased…

Read more

Amy*, a 31-year-old Chennai local, who has received three abortions in her life, remembers using a condom as protection each time she found out she was pregnant.  Now, her gynaecologist, scared that her body can not handle another termination, is requiring her to come in for shots every few months as an added form of birth control.  Amy recalls that she really had no formal education on other forms of birth control, and while she knew they existed, she just really wasn’t considering it.  Talking about sex is still considered taboo and many Chennai schools currently have no formalized sex…

Read more

Aarti Krishnakumar, a Chennai local, entered the dating world after her mother’s efforts to arrange a marriage for her did not work out. Unsure of it all, Aarti went on a few dates and found herself in a panic after not getting her period.  When Aarti went looking for emergency contraceptive pills in Chennai, she took many avenues.  First, she visited three generic pharmacies, none of which carried the emergency contraceptive pill. At another pharmacy, Aarti recalls the pharmacist looking at her “as if I had just asked for an alien chip.” Feeling more desperate, Aarti then visited a reputed hospital…

Read more

Translated by Aruna Natarajan ராமலிங்கம்* என்ற முதியவர், ஒரு ஞாயிற்றுக்கிழமை காலை மதுரையிலிருந்து சென்னைக்கு தனியாகப் பயணம் செய்து எழும்பூர் ரயில் நிலையத்தை அடைந்தார். மெட்ரோ ரெயிலில் செல்வதற்காக ஃபுட் ஓவர் பிரிட்ஜில் நடந்து சென்ற அவருக்கு திடீரென மாரடைப்பு ஏற்பட்டது. பொதுமக்கள் அவருக்கு உதவ 108 ஆம்புலன்ஸ் சேவையை டயல் செய்ய முயன்றபோது, ​​சென்னை எழும்பூர் ரயில் நிலையத்திலேயே மருத்துவ அவசர சிகிச்சைக்காக பிரத்யேகமாக ஸ்டேஷன் வளாகத்தில் ஒரு அவசர மருத்துவ மையம் உள்ளதை குறித்து பலருக்குத் தெரியாது. கூட்டத்தை கவனித்த ரயில்வே ஊழியர்கள், மையத்தில் இருந்த மருத்துவ ஊழியர்களுக்கு தகவல் தெரிவித்தனர். ஒரு பெண் மற்றும் ஒரு ஆண் செவிலியர் உடனடியாக அவசர உபகரணங்கள் மற்றும் பிற முதலுதவி பொருட்களுடன் சம்பவ இடத்திற்கு விரைந்தனர். சில நிமிட கார்டியோபுல்மோனரி ரெசசிட்டேஷன் (CPR)க்குப் பிறகு, ராமலிங்கம் நிலைபெற்றார். பின்னர் அவர் அவசர சிகிச்சை மையத்திற்கு மாற்றப்பட்டு, மேல் சிகிச்சைக்காக அருகில் உள்ள அரசு மருத்துவமனைக்கு கொண்டு…

Read more

Shakari R had to take a private bus from Chennai to Bengaluru on a Saturday night. While she was on her way to the bus terminus along with her friend in a two-wheeler, they met with an accident on a road near Koyambedu market and bus stand. “There was a big pothole on the road and it was not visible in the dark,” she says. As soon as they fell from the bike, people gathered around them to help. But, no one was aware of where to go when such a medical emergency occurs at the Koyambedu bus stand. Shankari…

Read more

The explosion of Covid-19 cases in China towards the end of 2022 and early 2023 reminded us, once again, that pandemics have a way of lingering and forcing themselves to the forefront of our consciousness. As public health policy experts have been saying for years, it is not a question of “if” but “when” the next pandemic (or a new and highly virulent variant of Covid-19) arrives. Since a future pandemic seems inevitable, we argue that the questions we should be asking are will we be able to respond effectively when the pandemic arrives and does effective response depend on…

Read more

Ramalingam*, a sexagenarian, was travelling alone from Madurai to Chennai on a Sunday morning and reached the Egmore railway station. As he was walking on the foot-over-bridge to take the metro rail, he went into a sudden cardiac arrest. While the public tried to help him and dial 108 ambulance service, not many were aware of the emergency medical centre inside the station's premises that is exclusively meant for attending to medical emergency cases in Chennai Egmore railway station. A railway staff noticed the crowd and intimated the medical staff at the centre. A female and a male nurse immediately…

Read more

About eight and half years ago, Roshni* noticed that her toddler, Karan*, had started to fall back on his milestones. A visit to the paediatrician led to Karan being diagnosed with mild autism. “From then on, it’s been a long journey,” says Roshni. The dedicated parents have taken Karan to numerous intervention centres and therapists, but keeping this going financially was proving to be a burden. That is when someone referred Roshni to The Association of People with Disability (APD), an NGO that has been working for underprivileged people with disability since 1959. Roshni approached APD in March this year,…

Read more