Chandrapur: A medical camp at Chandrapur in Eastern Maharashtra, famous for Tadoba tiger reserve and Gondi tribe saw a turnout of more than 10,000 people. They were screened for various conditions such as blood sugar, cancer, dental disorders, diabetes and glaucoma, and offered on the spot treatment, medicines, assistance or guidance.
Many local government officials, doctors and volunteers came forward to provide their services for the camp held during 17-23 December 2019 in Sports Club of Cement Nagar. It was organized by Mumbai based Ratna Nidhi Charitable Trust (RNCT) and ACC Trust supported by UK based MZ & KZ Shah Foundation and Hope4Smile Foundation.
Five innovative devices developed at BETIC, IIT Bombay were used for screening or assisting about 2400 people at the camp. Om Patel from Ayu Devices, the start-up company licensed by IIT to manufacture and supply digital stethoscopes said, “We tested more than 2000 people and detected 85 patients with abnormal chest sounds, who have been advised further diagnosis.” The stethoscope enables recording, visualizing, sharing and analysing the auscultated sound patterns.
The diabetic foot screening team led by Nishant Kathpal, founder of the start-up Ayati Devices, employed their device called STIMU for testing 78 people. Of these, 44 people were found to be susceptible to diabetic foot neuropathy, a degenerative disease that can lead to foot ulcers and amputations. They were advised further diagnosis and preventive measures.
The glaucoma screening device developed by Sudip Jamwal and ECG testing unit developed by Tapas Pandey and Poojan Dholakia were used for screening more than 300 people. One patient was found to be having tachycardia (fast heartbeat) and was immediately taken shifted to hospital for further care. “This is the first time BETIC team participated in such a large camp and the experience is invaluable in first-hand understanding of the healthcare requirements in remote rural areas. It will help us in developing advanced yet affordable medical devices to match the requirements” said Tapas, who heads the electronics team at BETIC and is associated with several innovations in the lab.
The IITB and RNCT teams had visited the district in advance to ascertain the local needs and plan the logistics. They also identified 18 amputees; whose measurements were taken during the advance visit. Then BETIC researchers Lalit Amrutsagar and Gaurav Parit fabricated patient-customized prosthesis and brought them to the camp for fitting to the patients. One patient Mangaldip said, “I lost my leg in an accident last year and lost hope of getting back to normal life with a job. Now that I am back on both feet, I intend to start a new business to take care of my mother and family.”
“The patients reported comfortable fitting of the new socket developed using 3D CAD and digital manufacturing. We could increase the accuracy and double the productivity, with only marginal increase in cost. The new process will be implemented at RNCT, supported by Google. The journey from research to reality has been really satisfying” said Lalit, who has been improving the process of prosthesis design and fabrication as part of his PhD thesis.
Rajiv Mehta, head of RNCT said, “The spirit of volunteering was seen in its purest form at the camp. Many doctors and volunteers travelled all the way from London and Mumbai to provide their services. The camp highlighted the tremendous need for quality healthcare services in rural India. We pledge to continue this journey and scale camps like these to more disadvantaged and rural people in India.”