Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Rural Health Immersion in India

06/28/2015 Sishir Rao


My global health experience working in rural Kollidam hospital in Tamil Nadu, India has been a productive and enlightening one. The hospital is a rural hospital serving primarily an agrarian low-income population.

The hospital is staffed by one full-time physician as well as a small group comprised of technologists and nurses. Visiting specialists perform consultations and trainees rotate through the hospital as well. Dr. Venkatesh, my mentor is an ENT surgeon and is a skilled clinician. He performs procedures as varied as trauma surgeries such as burr hole placement for intracranial hemorrhage, intubation and tracheotomy, obstetric procedures such as c-section, appendectomies, a range of ENT surgeries, and burn surgeries.

During the last several days, I have been able to immerse myself in clinical medicine including performing preliminary patient care visits in both the outpatient and inpatient setting. I am currently a Radiology resident at MGH and will pursue a fellowship in IR. During this global health experience, I found myself putting my internal medicine internship training to good use! The hospital also has a portable x-ray unit, a portable ultrasound unit, and a c-arm for diagnostic and interventional fluoroscopic procedures. A nearby imaging center possesses CT and MRI facilities. I assisted in performing ultrasounds and interpretation of imaging with pictures below.

The hospital also has a small but well-equipped pharmacy that I enjoyed familiarizing myself with various drug formulations, some of which are different than U.S. medications.
Despite economic challenges, the private hospital has managed to serve patients regardless of their ability to pay through a combination of efficient, low-cost practices and willingness to sacrifice profit for the patient. The Tamil Nadu government has also launched a health insurance program for low income patients which has helped ease economic hardship for this patient population. I am interested in health economics and enjoyed the chance to interact with the insurance/billing manager.

In my next blog post, I will discuss the cardiac health epidemic in India that I am passionate about.


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