Kerala Floods 2018 : A Report

The Medical Camps

 Medical camps have been undertaken in co-ordination with the district administration and an initial rapid assessment was conducted. The floods that hit Kerala was the worst in centuries with over 445 killed and over a million in relief camps.

CHD Group organized multi-specialty medical missions to boost healthcare in the region of Wayanad in Kerala along with corporate partners.

The camps were organized from 23rd August, 2018 to 21st October, 2018. Multi-speciality medical missions were held in hard to reach belts falling under Wayanad District of Kerala. The prime patients catered to, where those who had no help coming their way in terms of healthcare and hygiene, comfort and quality care. It is here that CHD Group stepped in towards building a resilient and healthy Kerala with our team of specialist doctors.

Paediatricians, Community Health Physicians, and General Practitioners were called in for providing healthcare relief besides translators and local volunteers to ensure successful outcomes for healthcare. 2 Social scientists were also placed on ground to undertake psychological assessment and understand post disaster epidemiology.

All suspects of fever and myalgia were put on prophylaxis for Leptospirosis and other patients seeking care were ranging from respiratory tract infection, skin diseases emerging post flooding compounded by poor hygiene conditions for those suffering from chronic diseases like Hypertension, Diabetes and also children with different ailments including few diarrhoeal diseases. All Tuberculosis suspects were referred to the district hospital and RNTCP center for further evaluation.

Free healthcare interventions were carried out and medicines were distributed free of cost to help the families and victims who fell ill post disaster. The hard to reach areas on a normal course were cut off from healthcare and the flooding compounded the problem.

 

Observations from the field:

  • Majority of children with upper respiratory tract infections and generalized illness reported to the camp site with also incidence of fever. Patients with chronic diseases also reached the camp sites for seeking continuing care with regard to their diseases.
  • Skin diseases, symptomatic itching, acute respiratory infections, diarrhoeal diseases were among the common diseases seen among adults who turned up at the camp sites and who in the normal course would have not been able to access healthcare because of the conditions where they live and also due to abject poverty.
  • The camps were very well received in each of the villages. With significant distance from the city and the nearest health system being far-fetched, the co-operation of locals to hold the camps and to also ensure that maximum number in given localities, benefit was visibly evident.
  • General sanitation and hygiene condition is poor in the region with health systems not up to the Indian Public Health Standards. Quality of care reaching the villagers and the communities is far from encouraging and what is otherwise read about in popular press.
  • Drinking water quality was compromised and all villagers were advised to boil water and bring it to a rolling boil to ensure no ill-effect related to water borne diseases would arise subsequently.

Challenges:

  • Mobile Laboratory not being available, active laboratory screening could not be carried out and the patients suspected were referred to tertiary care hospitals.
  • Medical interpreters as language brokers were not always reliable as the message to be conveyed to the patient from the doctor was not always translated as ditto.

Conclusion:

CHD Group arrived at a conclusion that while immediate medical relief care did considerable good to the communities who benefited from the same, a long term public health intervention pertaining to nutritional needs, sanitary intervention, and mental health remains much necessary to ensure that sustainable healthcare reaches the door-steps for which deeper engagement both in cash and in kind is required.

CHD Group

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