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GOA OUTREACH
FOR SLUM & STREET CHILDREN

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Help Of A Doctor

, Margao, Goa, India
Young Boy sleeping on the path continues to Smile
Young Boy sleeping on the path continues to Smile

We are lucky to have the help of a doctor, Dr Dhiru Mistry, a philanthropist in the medical field, who generously met us in Margao with the aim of doing a check-up on the two children we had seen on a previous trip. However, two soon turned into 10 children. Our first stop was in Margao where we wanted to do a check-up on the boy with leg injuries who we had already seen a couple of times (previous posts). He was keeping the leg clean and was still bandage up, a quick check up and clean was all that was required.

As soon as we unpacked the medicines the children flocked around showing their bumps, cuts and bruises. Another child limped towards us and said she had been hit by a car, it didn't look too bad, just a graze on the surface, but the doctor couldn't be sure, so just in case we took her for an X- Ray at a local clinic. Thankfully the bones were intact and the x-ray clear, so just a little bit of T.L.C and some pain killers and she will be fine.

Our next patient had a bad case of conjunctivitis, which can be painful and looks horrible. The worst thing about conjunctivitis is that it is very easily passed on, especially in tight-knit communities. A trip to the pharmacy and 10 minutes later the patient was treated. As we were applying the eye drops, 3 more children came forward with their eyes stuck up and red. In the end we left enough medicine for all four children and hopefully the infection will clear before it spreads further.

Our last stop a few kilometres away was to see the girl with the severe skin condition. On our arrival we were welcomed to her home and her father gave us the medical file detailing the extensive tests and results, it seems the girl has had health problems for most of her life; the doctor carefully read through the medical notes and sadly concluded her prognosis was not good.

DR DHIRU MISTRY COMMENTED

"The young lady with amyloidosis, I am afraid she has very poor prognosis, her life expectancy is limited to 15 to 18 yrs, and she was about 14 yrs old when we saw her. Amyloidosis is likely to affect the Cardio vascular system, one day she will have cardiac arrhythmias and that will result in heart failure. Kidneys are also affected eventually, but it's likely that cardiac lesion will be first. She has alopecia and scared skull with cradle cap or what we call keratosis."

We will continue to check up on her and try our hardest to help her as much as possible. A small list of medicines including betnovate scalp lotion will hopefully improve her skin condition which is actually a side effect from her underlying condition.

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Margao Checkups

, Margao, Goa, India
Providing First Aid to The Children in Goa, India
Providing First Aid to The Children in Goa, India

Monday was a little overcast and the weather could have gone either way, but having promised to return to treat the boy with the injured leg, it was down to Margao again, an hours' drive away. There was a shower on the way down but not enough to put on the rain coat, and so forged ahead to Margao in good time.

We first stopped off at another slum which we have only been to once before, though to be honest I had been there a few times in the past, and they were... I think animated might be the best way to describe them. But today, they were a joy, and as soon as we arrived we were mobbed, but after a little encouragement a few sat down in a nice line and the rest followed suit.

As with the day before, there were twice as many children as before, all of them seemed to be high on caffeine, although I am sure they weren't, they were just so excited to be getting the simple things that the majority of the world takes for granted. There were just 70 packs, enough for this one slum and it looks like we will return again to do the last couple of areas in Margao. After the children received their gifts and were gone, a mother approached us gesturing to her child who had a gash on its left eyebrow. The child had obviously been to hospital as 3 or 4 stitches had been inserted to close the wound. The wound was thoroughly cleaned and the brave child didn't complain once. It is a pleasure to treat such a good patient. We said our goodbyes and headed back to see the boy with the leg injuries.

As soon as we arrived the children flocked towards us and we made our way over to the pavement which was going to be the makeshift hospital bed for the next 45 minutes. It wasn't the most hygienic of places on which to sit cross-legged, a few metres from the busy highway but one has to be adaptable and the boy stretched out his leg which looked to be in a very poor condition.

It took 30 minutes to properly clean his leg which was caked in dust and flies, but actually underneath all the dirt it wasn't too bad. Betadine cream was applied and we got a chance to look at his medical file as he had been admitted into hospital in Mumbai. The original injury had been really bad and all the bones had broken horizontally so there must have been a strong impact.

The open wounds left on his leg were from the metal pins that had been inserted to keep his leg in place while the bones had chance to re-grow. The pins had been taken out but the areas were becoming infected again due to poor hygiene.

I checked his medicine and he was still on antibiotics which was a relief, double checked that family knew when to take. So after a thorough clean the wounds were dressed which will act as a barrier against the dirt and also the flies. We gave the mother some medical supplies so she could keep on top of the infections and instructed her how to use them, although the boy seemed just as capable even though he was just 7 or 8 years of age. We will return in a couple of days to check up on him again. Another very brave patient.

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Our First Slum Visit Since Our Return To Goa

, Margao, Goa, India
Bunch of Children Smiling with donations in Margao
Bunch of Children Smiling with donations in Margao

Our first trip to Margao since we returned to India was a great success. On a clear sunny day during September, we took 120 health packs, by motorcycle, since that is the only transport we currently have use of. It is quite a feat to get all the packs safely stacked and transported. The first stop was a regular one and we were amazed to find nearly double the number of children there. It was a Sunday so the nearby chapel was in mid service and the children were huddled round waiting for it to finish so they could get their reward of a drink and a few biscuits.

While we waited we had the chance to take a few photos as there were a few children who seemed more interested in talking than watching the service. After 15 minutes the service came to an end and the children started to gather round and get excited. The children were organised to sit down and then more children kept coming and coming, in total, about 90 children. As you can imagine, so many can be a bit of a handful, but one of the parents helped out and did an excellent job. The space wasn't quite big enough so instead of one nice straight queue, it was more like a straight line with a horseshoe on one end. Whenever items are given out, it is important to have one's wits about one as some children jump the queue to receive more than their fair share. In the end all went smoothly, and all the families were great and we were taken around the village and managed to click a few more snaps with the families in their homes. We will be doing follow- up work here as there is one girl who has a severe dermatological condition, and it is hoped to obtain advice from a doctor to see if anything can be done to help. She seems to be a lovely girl who in spite of her condition lives life to the full. Another girl we were told, is deaf and dumb. It is difficult to imagine how this life must be for her and it is good to note that her father though seemed loving and present.

Our next stop was by the side of the busy highway where 16 families were living. The children and parents were in a poor state, especially one boy who had a severe injury to his left leg. It was narrated that he had had some kind of accident with a vehicle, not sure if it was a bike or a car. His leg did not seem quite straight and had three large sores, but the worst thing was the dirt and grime that covered his leg; we hadn't brought the first aid kit so there was nothing we could do, but distribute the health packs and at least he would have soap to wash his leg. After giving out the health packs we asked to speak to his parents and said we would return the next day to do a proper check up of his leg and see what could be done.

By the time we reached home we were shattered and just a little sun burnt but it had been a productive day and although with lots more to do, we had a purpose and were ready to face what tomorrow would bring.

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