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Jibhi health mela

Posted by: Philip Alex | Posted on: July 2nd, 2013 | 0 Comments

Jibhi mela is an annual event, conducted over a period of three days in villages which come under the purview of Jibhi CHAI (Community Health Action Initiative).  This year, though the early arrival of the monsoon seemed to dampen our preparatory efforts, the mela was a grand success.

Preparation began almost a month ahead with informing the primary schools and anganwadis in the villages of Hirab, Sajwar, Shoja and Ghyagi, and requesting permission from the educational authorities who are in-charge of these schools.  The rains slashed the Jibhi area in the early weeks of June, making the kachha roads difficult for commuting.  However, the week prior to the mela, the weather turned in our tide, with the mercury rising up.

The team from Manali arrived on 19th evening, and after unwinding and a brief rehearsal, we were all set for the show.  The full team consisted of doctors (Anu and Nishanth), a dentist (Riya), an optometrist (Jasmine), an OPD worker (Sonam), social work interns (Paul, Jackson, and Prasanjit), Jibhi staff (Kanta and Kuldeep), and healthcare workers from the villages in Banjar district (Tara, Nimu, Shakti, and Manorama).

All 3 days involved driving up rather treacherous roads (these roads are not for the uninitiated!), and trekking up beautiful paths through the villages, carrying medicines. Apart from enjoying the silence and beauty of these ancient mountains, we also had a good cardiovascular workout, which betrayed the abysmal levels of fitness in some of our team members!  The children received us with enthusiasm, while the teachers had the place organized for us to perform.  The theme this year was tuberculosis, since a significant portion of people from Banjar block are known to have succumbed to the illness.  We did a brief skit which covered the symptoms and diagnostic options for TB affecting the lungs, bones, abdomen, and brain.  The skit was well received with significant numbers of adults from the villages also attending the mela.  Paul and Jackson kept the children occupied with games and music, while we were checking them up.

On the first day (June 20th 2013), we saw a total of 169 patients from the villages of Hirab and Sajwar together, 80 from Shoja on the second day, and 65 from Ghyagi on the third day.  Due to local elections on the next day, we had to wrap up soon on the last day.   Patients who required further investigations or medicines were advised to follow-up in the Jibhi clinic.

The team enjoyed a brief trek to the waterfalls nearby and also playing the stream beside the Jibhi clinic.  This was followed by a campfire session of singing and dancing, and feasting on lip-smacking mughlai biryani.

Over all, apart from providing basic health-care to these villagers, the team enjoyed the entire trip, and we look forward to another mela next year.

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