Mobile clinics in India
Medical and pastoral care in a van
Living in the slums of Mumbai, access to healthcare is minimal. People are desperately poor and excluded from society. For those with leprosy, stigma and discrimination make life even worse. With access to healthcare unaffordable, too hard to travel to, or sometimes refused, many have no way of receiving treatment and develop severe, disabling medical problems as a result.
The Leprosy Mission Trust India’s mobile clinic is therefore a lifeline – visiting the slum areas on a weekly basis, it provides not only medical care, but an opportunity for people to speak with the medical professionals and receive pastoral care. This is particularly important for people affected by leprosy, who too often experience discrimination in day to day life; being treated as individuals in their own right is crucial.
This helps people affected by leprosy to appreciate themselves enough to learn the art of ‘self-care’; looking after any injuries and ensuring ulcers are treated before amputation is necessary. The counselling service provided is a vital part of recovery. Without the motivation for self-care, physical conditions deteriorate, and health will decline.
Tamil Nadu – mobile clinics for leprosy treatment and Covid-19 awareness
The Covid-19 pandemic provided an additional challenge to remote communities already living in difficult conditions. In the Tamil Nadu region, The Leprosy Mission’s mobile clinics played a crucial role in spreading information about how to prevent transmission.
The mobile therapy clinic travels throughout the Cuddalore and Villupuram districts, taking high quality medical facilities to remote communities. Staffed by teams including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, prosthetic technicians, community health workers and community volunteers, the clinic brings support to over 800 people affected by leprosy, and 2,000 people with other disabilities.
During 2020, the van’s public address system and LED displays were also used to educate local communities about how to prevent Covid transmission.
Sarita, an older lady living on the streets of Mumbai, looks forward to a Wednesday when The Leprosy Mission’s Karuna mobile clinic visits her community. She appreciates the clean bandages and medicines and loves to share a cup of tea with the team and to have a chat.