Saturday, December 17, 2005

Humbled yet again.

Since I joined the current company, I have been humbled once too often.
First it was a group of blind singers[here], then, today.

Our company gives out an award to people who have made a difference, every quarter.
This quarter it was to a Doctor couple. The husband couldn't make it, maybe he was busy treating Tribal patients. His wife could come. And She talked. We gave a standing ovation.
My eyes swelled.

Back home I grew up in a strict environment where I was given corporal punishments quite so often being wild, yet I wasn't allowed to cry, for a cry warranted me further whips. No pain ever made me cry as a child, but there are moments like today when my eyes do get a little wet. Maybe it is all the tears that I fought back. It made me physically tough, but give a sweet touching speech and I am :-( !!!

The couple was none other than Dr Abhay and Dr Rani Bang. I had the good fortune of listening to Dr Rani, who could come to our company's monthly meet and accept the award. Extremely qualified doctors, who 21 years back turned down offers from Geneva, Mumbai and othercities to work with a group of tribals who would eat grass-roots (no pun) for survival during the rainy seasons when they are cut off from civilisation by flooded canals. When they could have chosen luxury and riches, they chose to work with the down trodden and contributed not just to the immediate tribes they touched but to the world at large. Their studies have made many study materials for rural health care.

This couple, gold medalists in their MD, who went on to do their superspecialisation at the John Hopkins, and came back to India looking for WHAT they could do. They wanted to make a difference, but didn't know where to look or start. This lady was reading a Birbal story to her boy child who also is a doctor today. The story of 10 fools, where birbal found the 10th fool searching for his lost diamond ring under a light on the other side of the yamuna when in fact he lost the ring on the other side. Since it was dark on the other side he was tryin to find it on the side which was lighted. Birbal found the 10th fool, and the Lady her Clue [she narrated thi story to us]. Alas! They have been busy looking elshwhere when they should have gone to darkness, the problem lie in the darker innards of India. She and her Husband went to Gadchiroli, a region in Maharastra inhabited by the gonds. And the couple started their journey, and started a trust called SEARCH [Society for Education, Action and Research in Community Health] .
[Note: I am writing what I have registered on my mind listening to the speech, and have not googled anything yet. I wanted to give it a human touch. I will link only what she mentioned.]

The work this couple have carried out have been exemplary in the truest sense. Their work have set many trends in rural healthcare and are being followed by the WHO and other organisations including India Govt.

They found that Pneumonia and not Diarrhoea was the main cause of most child deaths, and since the nearest hospital was very far, most child deaths occur because basic medication or care could not be provided. The couple started training Village/tribal women on basic health care and teach them how to treat children with pneumonia. The results have been phenomenal, child mortality[which is the no. of death of child per 1000 child before they attend the age of 1 year] reduced from 130+ (I didn't note down the exact number) to about 80 [in a modle sample of 36 villages they have chosen for the research]. They also developed what they would term as Verbal Autopsy which came to be recognised all over the world.

Again they found that most child deaths occur before they attend the age of 1 month. This was something she termed Neo-natal care. They also learnt/discoverd also that a women have many reproductive woes or problems between the time they fist have menstruation till they attend menopause which laid a foundation of the reproductive healthcare foundation. I can't recollect exactly what the terms were, but a line of study that was erstwhile called some other term was recoined after their research.

Now, since the tribal people were ignorant of neo-natal care and they rarely went to the hospital, there were many child deaths before they attend the age of 1 month. They started traing mid-wifes and other tribal women on neo-natal care and now they take care of the tribes' neo-natal needs.Since they started the training, child mortality at the model villages have gone down further to...... take a deep breath 30 which is the target the GOI have set to achive by 2010 for INDIA. The system is being followed all over the world.

They have also started a Hospital there in a way the tribals wanted because the Tribals never visited the Govt. Hospitals which was because
-the concrete look very alien to them and had no element of the nature
-every one is clothed in white which reminded them of the Death sinch the death are wraped in White.
-And the doctors act like god and they had only one God.

The Time magazine have honored the couple as Heroes of global Health.[here]
Just saw that Sepiamutiny had mentioned the same on a post.[here]

I salute you Dr Abhay and Dr Rani Bang.
And I love my company for recognising the same, and bringing them to the dias.

Many more to read about the couple. I suggest that you google for more.

Update: My other Blog is updated

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Anonymous Gemini Girl said...

ohhh such a work ppl can do! its like.... a lot! I dont think ordinary ppl can do such a thing!

18/12/05 10:00 AM  
Blogger said...

very nice - its amazing what ordinary people can do when they decide to follow their hearts.

19/12/05 7:49 AM  
Blogger Soumyadip said...

Nice to see you back and with a post like this ... I would like you to take more five-day sojourns from blogging. When we were at the university - full of ideals and utopian ideas - we wanted to get out there and make a difference. But when we got out, we are here - enjoying our corporate comforts and only thinking that someday we might make a difference. It is here where people like the Bangs are different. The do and we, only think. I salute them.

19/12/05 9:35 AM  
Blogger Anthony said...

@ GG: They are just ordinary people doing extraordinary work my friend. We just don't have a courage and are too used to dreaming about the good life. Aspirations kill us.

19/12/05 10:07 AM  
Blogger Anthony said...

@ Gypsynan: Oh yes, only somepeople dream of doing good for the people, and mere mortals like us dream of the good for our own.. like the next pay hike or when i could start my own company...

@ Soumyadip: I had take to take the sojourn however hard i tried not to. I am actually doing a requirement study and keeps me away from blogging, coz when I have to type I have to type whjat I studied don't I.... I am takign a little time off before I staretd typing again today lol

19/12/05 10:11 AM  
Blogger Wacky Vin said...

I heard a lot about them. Starting something like this is one thing and keep it going is entirely different matter. How often we get a chance to meet people like these.

19/12/05 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi anthony
am posting a comment after long time,being in the public helathcare society ppl like Dr Abhay and Dr Rani are like GODS who set milestones and come up with results that the governement can only think of.We have a similar couple in Udaipur distt of Rajasthan called Dr Sharad Iyengar and Dr Kirti Iyengar.Both of them left highly lucrative career and salary to work for the unnpreveileged.They are wirking mostly in reproductive and sexual health recognizing the needs of adolescent males and females particularly.But at the same time we shudnt forget to regognize the work of all those field level workers who are the backbone of these publiv health programmes coz planning a programme or policy at higher level is easy but connecting with the community to implement these programmes is the tough job and the we shud thyank the field workers for that

19/12/05 11:55 AM  
Blogger Arunima said...

I wish I was there to witness it. Thnaks for sharing it with us.

19/12/05 1:25 PM  
Blogger San said...

great post :)

19/12/05 4:08 PM  
Blogger Khizzy said...

good post.
we should clone people like this couple!

anyways, yea jammie was first a friend, then a teacher(part time teacher, fulltime freelance designer).she's actually alumni.
its a pretty tight circle...her sister is also my best friend, kAy.

19/12/05 4:33 PM  
Blogger Khizzy said...

btw, ive been to other blog is about that.

19/12/05 4:35 PM  
Blogger aquamarine said...

Hi Anthony,

Nice to know that your organisation did the right thing in recognising folks like the Bangs for their untiring work for the tribals.
I personally think that each one of us has a certain responsibility towards soceity. We may not be able to do things in a big way, but a small step in the right direction is good enough.

21/12/05 9:53 AM  
Blogger anks said...

are ppl like this for real? It takes a lot of courage to make a choice like this... to deliberately choose a life of hardship over a life of luxury... the ordinary ppl can't do it....

21/12/05 11:44 AM  
Blogger Rita said...

Wow! Such people DO deserve a standing ovation.

21/12/05 6:58 PM  
Blogger dwaipayan said...

hat's off. its for people like them that this world is still a beautiful place to live in

21/12/05 8:04 PM  
Blogger Casablanca said...

Very very impressive!

22/12/05 11:30 AM  
Blogger kAy said...

hi anthony :)
thanx you for the compliment you left on my blog-
i echo khizzys thoughts on ure post.
im hoping to come to mumbai very soon and possibly photograph the life out of the city while im there.

23/12/05 4:25 PM  
Blogger The Comic Project said...

Merrrrrrrrrry christmas Anthony :-)

23/12/05 6:04 PM  
Anonymous silverine said...

I read this post some time back, followed the links and then got absorbed in reading about the Dangs.It was really heartwarming to read about people like them.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Anthony!!

23/12/05 7:14 PM  
Blogger visithra said...

Merry Christmas ;)

24/12/05 10:03 AM  
Blogger anthony said...

from haloscan which I am dismantling

informative post! reallly.
Ektz | Homepage | 12.17.05 - 3:28 pm | #


It amazes me that people like Dr Abhay and Dr Rani Bang exist. How and where do they find the courage to eschew the path that everybody walks. Hats off to them
hathirpithi | Homepage | 12.18.05 - 1:12 am | #


Thank god for people like the Bangs, the underprivileged and the people who do not subscribe to the so called modern and civilised world will have a fighting chance to keep their identity and ethnicity alive in the 21st century.
silverine | Homepage | 12.18.05 - 5:47 am | #


@ EKTZ.. Thnx Ekta, and it was my point.. to Inform...

@ Hathirpithi: there are lots if people like them.... will post about great people from time to time

@ SIlverine: How so true. These poeple they treat still live like aborigines,cut off from the world and they think the nearby villages are too Big
tony | Homepage | 12.18.05 - 11:48 pm | #


Good to know such dedicated people still exist.
arjun | couchpotatohere.blogspot | 12.20.05 - 3:14 pm | #

4/1/06 11:12 AM  

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