Purushottam Mishra, 49, who currently lives in Dahikhal in Odisha’s Rayagada district, suffered serious injuries on his upper right leg and knee area in a train accident two years ago. He was eventually operated upon for muscle repair and skin grafting at the Berhampur Medical College Hospital, located over 200km away.
Recently, Purushottam tripped over a stone, opening up a painful abscess in the same foot. His brother-in-law, who works as an electrician at the local Vedanta plant at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district advised him to visit the Vedanta Hospital in Lanjigarh. After two weeks of treatment at the hospital, Purushottam is fit to walk normally, and couldn’t be happier for the quality of medical care and treatment he received there.
In Odisha’s Kalahandi district, advanced healthcare has often been hard to come by for its rural residents. The Vedanta Hospital, started in November 2010 is a welcome facility in this remote area with 20 beds and two ambulances. Around 85% of the beneficiaries Vedanta Hospital services are from the villages nearby.
The hospital today serves around 6,000 patients every month across its various departments – In Patient Department (IPD), pathology, ECG, X-ray, dental, paediatrics, orthopaedics, ophthalmology and physiotherapy, among others. “Quality and timely healthcare in the remotest areas of rural India is a vital need that we see as our responsibility too, especially in areas where we have a footprint.” says Rahul Sharma, CEO – Alumina Business, Vedanta Ltd.
Its pathology wing, for instance, receives over 7,000 samples every month for testing, with 20% coming from diabetes patients. In fact, testing has served to increase awareness among villagers about the risks associated with diabetes and its treatment. The pathology lab also boasts of advanced thyroid testing equipment, the only one of its kind in the region. Before this, local patients requiring this test had to travel to Sambalpur, more than 250 km away.
“Our mission is to provide compassionate, high quality, easily accessible, free healthcare services to the community through leading regional health system dedicated to improving health and transforming the lives of the people,” says Dr Akshaya Kumar Sahoo at Vedanta Hospital – which is currently being managed by the Punaruthan Voluntary Organisation (PVO). He adds that the focus is on delivering high quality healthcare through a patient-centred approach, backed by a team of committed physicians and hospital employees. During 2018-19, Vedanta Hospital saw over 65,000 patients coming in, mostly from rural areas of Kalahandi and neighbouring districts, as well.
Vedanta Hospital also runs a Mobile Health Unit (MHU) to ensure that those living in remote, difficult and underserved areas receive access to public healthcare at their doorstep. The MHU operates with a dedicated team comprising a doctor, a pharmacist, an ANM (Auxiliary Nurse Midwifery), an attendant and a driver. Last year, the MHU team at Lanjigarh made 725 visits across eight Gram Panchayats, attending to over 13,000 patients.
In line with the group’s community service and development philosophy, Vedanta Hospital follows a two-pronged approach towards healthcare – curative and preventive.
The curative aspect is addressed through the hospital’s core functioning and the MHU team’s field visits as well as through periodic medical camps conducted in the region. During the last financial year, 442 people (largely senior citizens) who were identified by the MHU team, underwent cataract surgery in partnership with Mahanadi Netra Chikitsalaya.
All this needs to be supported by awareness-building and education among the local residents to bring about sustainable behavioural change towards health and hygiene. In its preventive approach to healthcare, a dedicated outreach team from Vedanta Hospital uses the time-tested IEC (Information, Education & Communication) and BCC (Behavioural Change Communication) models to educate villagers and to sensitise them about safe sanitation and health practices.
Such health awareness drives not only create realisation but also provide timely and valuable information to the local community about the most effective ways to deal with health hazards and control the spread of diseases. Last year, more than 350 health awareness drives were conducted across six Gram Panchayats in Kalahandi district, reaching out to over 15,000 people. These efforts have, among other benefits, resulted in a 65% decline in the incidence of malaria cases in the region from FY 2017-18 to FY 2018-19.
Vedanta Hospital has also been part of the Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) programme, where 194 pregnant women have been provided free antenatal check-up, counselling and care by the O&G Specialist, Community Awareness team from Vedanta Hospital and ASHA and ANM workers from the government. In addition, teams from the hospital have conducted 11 multi-speciality mega health camps in areas which are difficult to access and with no medical facilities. These camps have benefitted almost 4,500 patients during 2018-19.
Few interesting stories of beneficiaries
Tulasi Naik, 27, from Rengopali came to the Vedanta Hospital day care centre with post LSCS (Lower Segment Caesarean Section) and Sepsis. She was suffering from fever with rigor (feeling of coldness), weakness and mild headache. Naik was provided treatment under Dr Ramamanjari Naik (O&G specialist) and taken care by a staff nurse, Sunanada and a team of nurses. Post-treatment, she recovered and was discharged a week later.
Sunil Kadraka, 13, from Asurpada, was suffering from heat exhaustion when he was brought to the Vedanta Hospital day care. This was an emergency case where the hospital’s ambulance service reached on time and brought him here for treatment. The medical team, led by Dr Bhubhan Meher along with Kimbadanti Pattnaik, handled the situation, saving the patient’s life. Kadraka recovered within few hours and was discharged the next day.
Sujan Harijan, 18, from Tanganakana came to Vedanta Hospital IPD with an accident injury. A two-wheeler accident led to a fracture on the lateral wall of left orbit (fracture in lacrimal bone). He was treated by Dr Saroj Kanta Mishra and attended to by staff nurse Sumitra Das, and later by a team of nurses along with the dressing team. During his seven-day stay at the hospital, Harijan’s health was closely monitored by the medical team.