Doctors of conscience travel thousands of miles to serve the needy

By TwoCircles.net Staff Reporter,

Hyderabad: The modern lifestyle where material gains becomes the motto and objective of life, in which medical profession is a commercialized hit, a handful of doctors from the United States travel thousands of kilometers to serve the poor and needy in India restoring the faith in their profession’s ethics.

Every year, Indian Muslim Relief and Charities (IMRC), a US based philanthropist group of Indian Americans, assemble team of doctors from the states to volunteer for the health camps organized by its India wing Sahayata Trust to provide medical care to economically poor patients, who otherwise would not be able to afford the high cost of treatment.



Named as Indian Health Initiative (IHI), the medical camps are organized in semi slums of different states to target the most deserving patients.

This year at 6th IHI, six doctors from USA, California, Dr. Farida Ghogawala (Gynecologist), Dr. Irfan Moin (Geriatrics), Dr. Jerome Stefenko (General Surgeon), Dr. John Rosenberg (ER Physician), Dr. Mustafa Abo Alkheri (Surgeon), Dr. Yamin Ali Javed (Pediatrician), rendered their services at eight medical camps in Hyderabad and Bijapur, with four more camps in line at Bangarpet in Bangalore.


Dr. Yamin Ali Javed (Pediatrician) checking a young boy in a camp.
Dr. Yamin Ali Javed (Pediatrician) checking a young boy in a camp.

This bunch of doctors has monitored thousands of patient inflow in their voluntary work but with a sense of processional commitment. At 6thIHI in Hyderabad close to 3,000 patients were examined and treated, in Bijapur alone more than 4,000 patients were screened.



Dr. John Rosenberg said work has been exhausting at times, but it is also ‘exhilarating and rewarding’, “It’s not an easy job, but we are making an effort to do something.”

Dr. Rosenberg has been volunteering in the camps since IHI inception; he said IHI experience has been rejoicing. “It’s quite chaotic, require lot of energy, but in the end of the day you feel sense of satisfaction and sense of accomplishment, that we are making some difference to the people here,” he told TCN during a camp in Hyderabad.


Doctors of conscience sail seven seas to serve the needy
Dr. Irfan Moin counseling kids

Explaining the level of satisfaction he gets from his profession by volunteering with IHI he said, “I and Dr. Jerry work in same emergency rooms, and when we are done we thank god, and at the end of the day we go home; be our self, calm down and doesn’t feel like talking to anybody. It gets a while before it gets ok. But in the clinic like this, even after exhaustion, I feel wonderful I would like to do this for a long time.”

Its Dr. Jerry Stefenco’s first visit to the camp, but seeing him genteelly screening the feet’s of a fragile old diabetic patient, an instant impression of generosity of medical profession comes in mind.

Dr. Jerry said he is overwhelmed by the kindness of the people, and is grateful to be here; “I always wanted to see this country and help those patients who don’t have any access to medical care.” Dr. Jerry believes what IMRC is doing with their medical camps is difficult for anybody to accomplish.


Doctors of conscience sail seven seas to serve the needy
Dr. Jerry examining patient

Dr. Mustafa Abu Al Khair said it’s his first work as a medical volunteer and he is thankful to have got the opportunity. In the camp, Dr. Mustafa’s job is not just to treat patients but also to screen them and create awareness regarding different health issues. He praised IMRC for providing a platform to get an exposure of some professional commitment work.

Dr. Farida Ghogawala the specialized gynecologist in the camp has more traffic of patients than any other doctor. Majority of camp attendees were women and Dr. Farida was giving her best to not just screen them but also to educate them regarding different medical issues, which they might find uncomfortable to discuss with other doctors.


Doctors of conscience sail seven seas to serve the needy
Dr. John inspecting joint pain of a patient

Dr. Farida said she was looking for some platform to do service for the needy, and then she came across IMRC and got to know about their medical aid projects. Since past three years she has gone to treat women in Assam and UP.

Commenting on her experience in these camps, she said, “Women here dose get exploited by local medical fraternity due to lack of awareness, especially in fertility treatment. I am educating them on when to say no and how to get proper treatment. Apart from that many ailments arise in women due to nutritional deficiency. Women are the caretaker of the whole family if we educate them about health issues then we are saving families from chronic diseases,” Dr. Farida observed.


Doctors of conscience sail seven seas to serve the needy
Dr. Jerry (R), John (C) and Dr. Mustafa (L)

In the last six years Dr. John said the efficiency and management of the Para-medical clinics have improved. But his other colleagues added that the medical camps need to evolve on many fronts. Dr. Jerry felt it will be great to have educational classes in the camps regarding life style changes and its effect on health.

Dr. Farida also shared similar opinions saying local women are at risk due to unawareness on basic health issues. Dr. Mustafa on different parity observed that medical camps should also get specialized in surgeries, where the capabilities of volunteering doctor could be utilized to its extent.

These doctors appreciated the initiatives of the IMRC in organizing such health camps and appeared determined to not only come for the camp every year, but also encourage their other colleagues to be part of the team.

Related:

Health camps of US doctors for poor patients in Hyderabad

TCNPositive series page

SUPPORT TWOCIRCLESHELP SUPPORT INDEPENDENT AND NON-PROFIT MEDIA. DONATE HERE