Sunday, 22 January 2017

Project Kamal early screening of hypothyroidism & treatment – A determined journey for wellbeing of community

 Dr Smruti Mandar Haval

Project Kamal hum mm. Sounds cool but what does this means? Are you doing any research or building chain of hospitals? Many people asked me this question with lots of curiosity. Well project Kamal is a gift I have dedicated to my grandmother Mrs. Kamal Gopal Palekar aka Nani. She is the dearest person for me on mother earth.

She is a hypothyroid patient from past 30 + years and underwent two major operations in past. She is a true fighter and a jolly lady. With many good and bad qualities she passed on her hypothyroidism to me. With God’s wish at young age of 28 years I got diagnosed. I was expecting this but not at such an early age. I know the pain of taking daily tablets, regular blood checkup, weight fluctuations, mood swing etc but I was determined to fight back and win this battle.
I always felt that females especially are not comfortable in discussing this disease in public. There is lot of unawareness about this, no one voice much about this one as we are more busy in educating people about diabetes, hypertension etc.
I did my CCMTD course from Chellaram Diabetes Institute in association with PHFI and learnt a lot more about hypothyroidism than what I already know. During my practice of 2 years in area of Sankeshwar I managed to diagnose many hypothyroidism patients. They all were classic cases missed by many physicians.
It used to be a lengthy session to counsel the lady about the disease, its progression, compliance to the drugs, regular treatment, follow up etc. Few used to come back few never turned up. There was a strong need to educate the community about this disease and remove the stigma of being a hypothyroid patient. Need of an awareness campaign was there. So one fine day I was thinking about this cause and it clicked me - a name for my dream Project Kamal. Yes it was the most apt name I can think of. It was working as dedication to my Nani. It was catchy and having lot of meaning wrapped in it.
Kamal means lotus. Lotus is a flower with lots of importance in various ancient mythologies and cultures. In Hindu/Buddhist/Egyptian mythology lotus is a symbol of love, fertility, beauty, spirituality, prosperity, wealth and peace … in short symbol of life. This symbol was reflecting the kind of work we wanted to do.
So we locked the name project Kamal- Early screening of hypothyroidism and its treatment. Now was the time to take next step promotion and awareness campaign. I happen to read about world thyroid awareness week celebration in month of May every I was near to this month I planned an awareness lecture for common people in my area. This year time frame was 23 may -29 may 2016 so we choose 26 May for our celebration and that’s how our journey started. On 26 May we conducted a lecture in a temple and addressed common people. Told them about thyroid gland, how it is important for body to function normal, what are common diseases of it, what is basic relevant treatment etc.
For lecture nearly 60 town people came and were amazed to listen to us as it was a new topic for them to learn. Crowd has few ladies who were already suffering from disease. At the end of session we cleared their doubts or myths too. The stress was on hypothyroidism and its treatment compliance. We gave them nice insight that they are supposed to consume thyroxine tablet till they go the heaven. It worked so well that new patients know their status as whether they are hypothyroid or hypothyroid, what best treatment for them is and how they are supposed to take care of themselves. It was a really satisfying day in my life. Followed by lecture we arranged screening camp of thyroid disorders for which 10 patients enrolled and utilize our services.             
We have also started Project Kamal Thyroxine Bank where member patient get thyroxine drug at a reasonable cost or discount rate. This whole activity is to make treatment patient friendly, cost effective and improve compliance of patient especially my rural community. In future we are aiming to arrange more awareness camps, screening camps, improvement in case detection rate etc.
 So far we have successfully helped 50 + ladies with hypothyroidism. Number is small but this is just beginning. I hope almighty will give us courage and strength for successful implementation of this activity. Thank you.

Dr Smruti Mandar Haval  (Dr. Smruti Subhash Nikumbh);  M.B.B.S.D.N.B. (Family Med),M.N.A.M.S.,P.G.D. Diabetology  & Geriatric Med; Certified International Diabetic Educator by Project Hope & International Diabetes Federation (IDF) USA; Consulting Physician in Family medicine, Diabetology, Preventive Cardiology, Thyroid disorders  & Geriatric Medicine; C.E.O. Sukarmayogi Publishers, Sankeshwar Dist: Belgaum, Karnataka; Assistant Professor, Department Family Medicine, USM-KLE IMP,Belgaum


Area of practice: Sankeshwar, Dist – Belgaum,Karnataka. Epidemiology of your area in brief: It’s an semi rural area covering more than 50 km radius including many villages. Its USP is it’s an border area connecting borders of Maharashtra and Karnataka which makes it an multiethnic area. Common chronic health diseases are diabetes, hypertension, asthma, hypothyroidism etc.

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