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Report of visit to IIMC Kolkata- January/February 2013

By Ivy Silk - Retired Nurse & UK Sponsor

Once again a good trip to India, this year with the added bonus of being accompanied by my daughter Jane and her daughter Nancy.
Jane is a practice nurse so was very helpful in the clinics, and to give lectures at the Women’s Peace Council meetings and to the coordinators of the Community Health Workers. Jane spoke of the accidents that occur in the home.
Firstly the accidents caused by kerosene lamps falling over, resulting in severe burns. We saw evidence of this at the Indoor clinic. We were able to buy some Solar Lamps to replace the kerosene type. This is a project that I hope to continue. The cost of the Solar Lamps is £15, and are sold locally, we just order for them to be delivered to IIMC.
Nancy helped in the clinics taking Blood Pressures. She had a queue of 50 patients patiently waiting! Nancy had a special interest in the Women’s Peace Council. We found the women liked to share their experiences with us and to hear about us. All appeared fascinated by “3 generations” working together.
THE NEW HANDICAPPED CENTRE, which is ½ a mile from the Head Quarters, was ready to receive the children on the day after the Children’s festival. It is a spacious building to hold 52 children with rooms to accommodate 2-5 girls. Sadly we left that day, I would have loved to have seen the girls moved in.
The 18th ANNUAL CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL 13thJanuary. This as usual was a great fete of planning and precision! All IIMC workers from the area, past and present contributing to make the day a huge success.
THE OUTDOOR CLINICS. All continue to be very much in demand with people from the villages, seeing up to 800 patients in a morning session with 3 doctors, half a dozen nurses including student volunteers, a nutritionist to provide food supplements to pregnant mother and babies and sometimes a dentist.
THE INDOOR CLINIC at the HQ in Sonarpur. One ward is allocated to the treatment of skin conditions, providing regular applications of lotions and dressings. The 10 bedded unit was full at the time of visit. The other ward had victims of burns awaiting surgery to release contractures, they would stay here, be fed well so that they would be fit for the forthcoming surgery. Some patients were convalescing after surgery and some were here as home circumstances prevented them from returning and due to malnutrition.
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PRASADPUR. I am always pleased to visit this village, having first seen it in 2004 when the IIMC school was built with bamboo and corrugated roof. St Peters Church at Berkhamsted contributed to the construction of the present building, which through demand is having to be extended. It is now linked to the microcredit bank, which was donated by St. Mary’s Church in Bottesford. So this village is of significant interest to UK supporters, we visited a Women’s Peace Council meeting there.
CHALLAPARA. We visited this village for a clinic, and saw the IIMC school constructed with donations from a UK sponsor David Svensen, who was there for the opening of the school. A plaque is on the wall.
CHAKBERIA. A new IIMC school was due to be opened by the contributors from the Netherlands. A group from that country was there for the occasion.
DHAKI is a village on a Suderband Island. It is always a treat to visit this centre, mainly due to the services of Shayamal Saha- the Microcredit Bank Manager (among other things!) Shayamal makes everyone so welcome and shows all the projects to the volunteers who take part in the Wednesday and Saturday clinics.
Dhaki is a 4 hour journey from Head Quarters, so an overnight stay is advisable. The Clinic at Dhaki is usually very busy, pregnant mothers are pleased to have regular check- ups, but prefer to deliver their babies at home with the support of IIMC health workers-pre and post natal. Unfortunately the maternity unit has had to close temporarily, until a resident doctor is available to oversee the birth
SPONSORED CHILDREN. We have around 100 children who are sponsored by UK supporters. Many we were able to visit in their homes or to see at HQ. Several were given gifts from their sponsors, and lots of photos taken. The children really benefit from our contributions towards their education, knowing it is a privilege, they are enthusiastic and work hard, this hopefully will make all the difference and they will not have to endure the hardships that their parents have endured.
IIMC is very well respected in the NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) field of West Bengal, for its all-inclusive approach to dealing with poverty, unemployment and social empowerment. Its aim is to make local people self-sufficient, rather than to give charity.
All in all-after a short visit where we tried to see so much and everywhere takes so long to get to-we enjoyed the experience. All the projects are going well; all the staff are energetic and conscientious. Dr Sujit as ever, is full of enthusiasm, and such a good team leader able to inspire all those he meets. Congratulations to all IIMC workers.
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