The following is a translation of an interesting account Ms. C. M. Thangam, volunteer of the Anakavur Process, regarding her attending for the first time a medical training programme on Primary Prevention of Renal Failure which was conducted by eminent renal expert in India:
I attended a training programme on ‘Primary Prevention of Renal Failure’ conducted by the Kidney Help Trust of Chennai in March 2010 in Sriperumbudur (a small town on the way to kanchipuram from Chennai). Even though the medium of training was English and I was aware of my lack of proficiency in the English language, I still evinced keen interest in attending the programme because of my perception of its importance to my work and the kind of exposure that it would give me.
When I reached the training venue, namely, the Coromandel Club Hotel, I realized that this was perhaps my very first occasion when I went to such a place all by myself! I met a senior-looking person there, who asked me about my background and was kind to me. Later, I realized that it was none other than the very senior and well-known nephrologist, Dr. M. K. Mani of the Apollo Hospital, Chennai.
At the start of the training, when everyone introduced themselves in English, it was to my great relief that I could also do so, thanks to the training that I had received in our office on such self-introduction in English. The morning session was taken by Dr. M. K. Mani and it was a technical session. It was followed by group discussions, in which I made some points in Tamil, which was translated to English by another participant.
Dr. Appa Rao, an experienced Statistician, took a session in the afternoon on data management.
After dinner, I retired to a single-occupancy room which had been allotted to me. Being a holiday resort, the room allotted to me was very comfortable. However, since I was staying in a room all by myself for the first time, I felt it as an unusual experience and was a bit scared!
Our CFDRT Director Mr. Subramaniyam called me over my mobile just to enquire about my day in the training and he reassured me that it was a safe place to be in where even Dr. Mani was staying in the room next to me, that everything should be alright and that there was really nothing be scared about! I felt reassured at this and in a little while, fell asleep.
Next morning, I woke up nicely, felt fresh and got ready for the field visit. Our group was taken to Ramanujapuram Village where we could see for ourselves how Benedict’s test was conducted by the health workers on urine samples taken from the patients assembled there. We also observed the entire process of positive cases being taken in for further examination of blood pressure and for distribution of medicines. We were also shown the various records maintained at the centre. Dr. Manjula Datta of the Kidney Help Trust was there with us handy to answer whatever doubts we had.
In the post-lunch session on the second day, we were asked to share our experiences. I explained our Anakavur work, particularly about Venkat Sir’s demonstration to our women’s group to find out if the salt they used contained iodine or not by using a solution. It led to our village women buying thereafter only iodized salt.
Mr. Subramaniyam joined us in the afternoon and briefly explained about our efforts to start a similar effort for the primary prevention of renal failure in Anakavur.
When I returned to my village after the training, I called a meeting of our women’s group and explained to them whatever I had learned and observed in the above training.
In conclusion, I must say that I liked this opportunity of attending this training immensely and I have greatly benefited by this training both in terms of gaining knowledge as well as getting a rare exposure to a technical workshop on preventive health care! I thank Venkat Sir for facilitating such an opportunity for me.
C. M. Thangam
April 2010, Cheyyatraivendran, Anakavur Block.