Wellness-check Camp, Shirali

A healthy body is the perfect home for a healthy mind. To ensure that the multi-talented children of Srivali High School,Shirali are physically fit, Parama Pujya Swamiji blessed the wish expressed by Mangesh Chickermanemam that his U.S-based daughter Dr. Shreegouri Savkur would conduct a medical camp for them. Here is a detailed report by
Dr. Shreegouri Savkurpachi and Krishnanand Mankikarmam                                           (October 2018)

With the Blessings of our far-sighted Mathadhipati Parama Pujya Sadyojat Shankarashram Swamiji, a ‘wellness camp’ was conducted at Srivali High School, Shirali, for 7 working days - from July 18th to July 26th, 2018. The objective of the camp was to provide a “Well Child check” to each student of Srivali High School. For this, the children were screened for anemia as well as other common childhood illnesses and provided referrals to appropriate specialists.A grand total of 370 students were covered in this camp!

On the morning of July 17, 2018, volunteers Mangesh Chickermane, Naren Savkur and Dr. Shreegouri Savkur visited the school for the initial ground-work. The school authorities provided a very spacious, well-lit and well-ventilated venue with all facilities for conducting the camp.  Headmistress Smt. Mamata Bhatkal, art teacher Sanjay and the office administrative assistant Santosh, along with a few students, worked hard to position the work-space of the camp strategically, at the entrance of the school.

The wellness - check room had designated areas that were well marked - Station 1 : for registration, Station 2: for weight and height, Station 3: for vision screening, Station 4: for laboratory, Station 5: the designated waiting room, Station 6: Doctor’s room (a nice enclosure that was made by putting up some rods and cloth to form a small area with privacy for physical examinations) and Station 7: for check out - an area where children exchanged their paperwork (all were asked to fill up a questionnaire) for a gift.

On 17th July, 2018, during the assembly Mangesh Chickermanemam spoke about the camp, its various stations and the workflow. Chickermanemam’s enthusiasm was highly contagious and his young audience was thrilled to hear that a daily quiz related to wellness and health would be conducted and the best entries would receive prizes! The children were also very excited to note that the waiting room area would have games for them to play. All the quizzes and games reinforced some aspect or the other, of health, hygiene and nutrition and the quizzes and the games were designed to make students think more about how they could develop healthy lifestyles and take good care of themselves.

By the afternoon of July 17th, volunteers Sumangala Chickermanepachi, Anusha Chickermanepachi and Benjamin Kendall Wardmam (the latter two from the UK) arrived. All of them worked with dedication to assemble 400 gift bags. Each bag contained 1 toothbrush, 1 pack of toothpaste, 1 wound- care kit (which had alcohol swabs to clean the wound, band-aids, antibiotic ointment and Bacitracin packets for local application), 1 soap bar, a bottle or tube of moisturizing cream, a strip of multivitamin tablets and a handout that educated the children about how to use the contents of the gift bag. Each child also received a healthy granola snack bar.

On the morning of July 18th, the camp was inaugurated by Alekal Ramachandra Raomam and Mallapur Narayanmam with the auspicious lighting of the lamp and the camp began immediately after. It took only a few minutes for the workflow to be established under the able guidance of Chickermanemam. Some teenagers were a bit nervous about the finger-prick required for the blood test, but the volunteers quickly allayed their fears. A nurse was provided by the Math for 3 days to obtain blood samples for the haemoglobin check. On the rest of the days, Sumangalapachi stepped in and collected blood samples, ran the tests and recorded the haemoglobin result. At times, when the results were too low, the test was repeated for accuracy. Students willingly agreed for the re-test. Yuva Naren Savkur did vision testing - distance, near and color. Benjamin Kendall Ward did height and weight checking while Anusha Chickermane and Yerdoor Gajananmam managed the reception and records.

Each child underwent an exhaustive medical check-up. This comprised a review of their allergies, current medicines, past medical history, family medical history, social history and a complete medical examination, which involved an eye-check (non-dilated fundoscopic exam) using ophthalmoscope, ear-check using otoscope, nasal inspection and an oral check, evaluation of lymph nodes, skin check, auscultation of heart and lungs using stethoscope, abdominal exam, a brief neurological exam and screening for scoliosis. All concerns of the students were addressed, treatment (medications) provided and referrals made wherever applicable.

The afternoon of July 20th, 2018 witnessed Dr. Sunayna Padbidri, MD. DGO, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist from Honavar giving an audiovisual presentation on “Menstruation : The Myths and Facts”  to a  target audience of high-school girls of Srivalli School. The girls were provided with detailed information about anatomy and the hormonal physiology of this process with particular stress on the importance of personal hygiene and cleanliness during menstruation. Slides displaying various myths, taboos and beliefs related to this topic were shown. There was a lively interactive session in the end and the girls were very happy to have all their doubts cleared.Their inhibitions about this natural physiological process seemed definitely lesser after this informative programme. Naturally, the  Headmistress and the staff of Srivalli School were very grateful to Dr. Sunayna for her excellent, presentation and deft handling of a hush-hush topic.The tests revealed that the overall health of Srivali High School children was much better than expected - good hemoglobin values and low occurrence of vision defects. Anxiety and stress levels seemed much lesser than those of their urban counterparts. This was undoubtedly due to the importance given by the school to daily prayers, yoga, plus the loving and supportive atmosphere provided by the teachers and staff of the school and of course, the caring Guidance and Blessings of Pujya Swamiji. The nutritious mid-day meal provided by the Math also contributed greatly to the general well- being, according to the observation of the visiting team.

Common childhood complaints of fatigue, headache, occasional abdominal pain, cold/cough and other viral illnesses were the same as the general population. Dental health / hygiene seemed relatively lacking in comparison with other parameters of health, as enumerated above.

The children benefited a lot from this wellness camp. They particularly enjoyed the quizzes and games organized for them and the individual attention, plus frank interaction with the doctor in the examination room. They also expressed hope that the school would organise many more of such camps. The volunteers also learned a lot from this experience and expressed  their sincere gratitude to Pujya Swamiji, the Math administration and the school authorities for providing this wonderful opportunity for seva.

In the briefing session, the conclusions were presented to Parama Pujya Swamiji. It was pointed out that the specially designed questionnaire on social stresses, as well as the dental care issues needed a follow-up. Swamiji took a proactive decision to immediately constitute a committee for further planning. The committee consists of Krishnanand Heblekarmam, Pune, Dr. Vrinda Trikannadpachi USA,. Priti Panemanglorepachi, Pune, Dilip Basrurmam, Pune, Vivek Bijurmam, Pune, Asha Awasthipachi, Bengaluru, Mangesh Chickermanemam, Bengaluru and Shreegouri Savkurpachi USA.

Mangeshmam and Shreegouripachi suggested that a similar camp be held in July 2019, for the children of Guruprasad High School Mallapur. This proposal too has received the Blessings and Approval of Pujya Swamiji.

Pin-pricks, blood samples, reports, games, gifts, interaction, ideation were all a part of the fitness week at Srivali School, Shirali where 320 students underwent a complete wellness-check!


************************************************************************************************************************Jai Shankar!

With the Blessings of Parama Pujya Sadyojat Shankarashram Swamiji, Parijna Patrika, an exciting, informative and enjoyable e-paper in Kannada and English has been launched for our young readers – the future of Shri Chitrapur Math.

Parijna Patrika will highlight the achievements of our young readers and carry interesting events and festivals that are celebrated in the schools under the banner of our beloved Shri Chitrapur Math. The e-paper will also have snippets on current world news, science, fitness, sports, crafts, our earth and a host of other interesting topics.

This platform will enable students from all our schools to bond through reading, sharing and in the near future, even contributing to Parijna Patrika!

The four issues planned for this academic year will be released during:

v  Guru Purnima  v  Diwali  v  Makara Sankaranti  v  Rathotsava

Click on or visit : www.chitrapurmath/net/magazine