UPDATE AUGUST 2006
Dear friends, namaskar.
This past month marked a major improvement for our clinic: after many months of sometimes interrupted construction due to financial and labour problems, the new clinic building can now be fully utilized by all medical departments. The acupuncture department had already shifted to the new building a few months ago in it's still incomplete condition, in order to make use of the large new acupuncture hall, so that more patients per day can be treated. Now also our homeopathic and allopathic doctors have shifted to the new and larger rooms. Most recently outside wall painting was completed, so that the clinic is now much more presentable to the public. Still more work needs to be done to fully complete this first section of the planned ground floor, especially all the plumbing including installation of a roof tank and boring of a tube well with a pump to supply sufficient clean water. At present we're still getting our water carried by hand from the neighbour's hand pump. Other next targets are a stronger fencing and inner compound gate (also to protect our herbal and vegetable gardens from the neighbour's goats and other animals) as well as a separate patients' toilet, as the villagers feel shy to make use of the toilet block which is being used by the staff and other visitors.
The four rooms of the temporary clinic building are presently being kept for storage and visitors' accommodation. We will do some repainting and furnishing to make some of the rooms more comfortable for visitors. Recently we were happy to accommodate two friends from overseas for a short visit. One more is confirmed to stay with us for a few weeks from mid-December, and we're hoping for more visitors in the coming months.
With the clinic building now fully in use and also looking better, we're planning an official inauguration middle of September, to which we will invite various contacts and supporters including health and govt. officials on local and state level. We hope that some of them, after seeing our service for the local community, will be inspired to contribute funds for the further development of the project. We also want to appeal for their and others' help to provide funds for purchasing a van, to be used as an ambulance as well as for our mobile medical unit. With this vehicle, our village programs can provide much better service as we can then easily transport more staff, volunteers and materials to the closer as well as more distant villages.
Other improvements needed for our medical services in the coming months are a microscope and other laboratory equipment so that we can do our own basic lab tests, and establishing a room for regular wound dressings. For both of these things we will need to hire and train additional staff and plan for construction of further rooms.
The rainy season is now in full strength with daily and often heavy rains, which makes village well water much more dirty than usual and increases the occurrence of diarrhea, dysentery and other infectious diseases amongst the local population. Accordingly in our village programs we've been continuing with the disinfecting of well water and stagnant water in the village area, alongside with our nutritional education programs.
The govt. sponsored Malaria Eradication Program is continuing with two of our assistants receiving training sessions in the nearby city of Bokaro. It has been delayed for some days due to the regional health official and trainer being busy with work elsewhere but will start again soon. The basic training will only take around one month, after which the volunteers will go to the villages of this area for educating the villagers, treating mosquito nets, etc. for the rest of the one year program.
Our first herbal garden plot alongside the new clinic building was suffering some damage through the outside plastering and painting of the building walls. For this reason and for further expansion of the herbal garden, we've shifted the plants to a larger area near the front of the clinic. Each plant is now surrounded with a small circle of bricks painted white, so that patients and visitors can clearly see all the plants and so that no one mistakenly walks over them. A low bamboo fence along the front of the garden helps for further protection. We now have a total of 26 herbal plants. Our still new garden cannot yet supply enough for dispensing herbal medicine to patients on a regular basis, but already now we can show to patients specific plants which are good for their health problems and explain where to find the plants and how to prepare and take the herbal medicine. In the future we'll have a separate department and doctor for herbal medicine, naturopathy and ayurveda; for now we're fortunate that both our acupuncturist and homeopath also have a good knowledge of herbal medicine.
At the backside of the clinic building we're now planting several more vegetables and kitchen herbs. In the main area in front of the clinic entrance we will soon plant many flowers and also add more benches for the temporary patient waiting area, which is in the shade under a group of trees. During the rain we move the benches into the hallway and let the patients wait there. A more permanent roofed waiting area further away from the consultation rooms still needs to be constructed.
One good news in my last update was the connection to the govt. electricity supply. Unfortunately we're seeing now that the supply is often interrupted for hours at a time, because the govt. service is not so reliable in this area and also because the local office will switch off the power during heavy rains. Luckily we still have our generator and battery/inverter to compensate for that. As sometimes the govt. electricity may even be gone for a whole day or more due to some technical breakdown, we still hope to acquire funds for several large solar panels for better and cheaper backup power.
Thanks to all for your further support and best wishes for your own work and well-being.