The Kolhapur Medical & Healthcare Camp, a brainchild of Dr. Aniruddha Dhairyadhar Joshi, M.D. (Medicine) is now in the 17th year. The camp for the year 2020 was held on 26th and 27th of January at Pendakhale village of Shahuwadi taluka in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra.
One may think of the camp to be just an annual two-day fanfare. Contrary to a general perception about medical camps, the Kolhapur Medical & Healthcare Camp is an on-going activity that is performed around the year and culminates in the form of a huge, in fact, one of the largest of the medical and healthcare camps. The entire year-long activity is actually a holistic rural upliftment program for the community as a whole. Although designed very methodically and scientifically, it is an activity which is flush with love; the love of Bapu for all his Shraddhavans and the needy translates in the form of seva that his volunteers offer.
The activities conducted by Shree Aniruddha Upasana Foundation, the Dilasa Medical Trust and Rehabilitation Centre, the Aniruddha’s Academy of Disaster Management and the sister organizations last throughout the year. It includes conducting surveys, ensuring the supply of relief material to the needy villagers and monitoring their progress. The surveys help gauge the requirements of the local families concerning medical, hygiene and clothing needs. Every three months, volunteers of the Foundation from the districts of Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara, etc. participate in the exercise. The gathered data is updated every year to cater to the requirements of students and villagers, and the relief material distribution takes place accordingly. Simultaneously, the Foundation monitors the impact of the programs implemented by it on the lifestyle of the villagers. It also stays in touch with the local schools and periodically checks the development of the students. In entirety, the whole exercise highlights the commitment that Shraddhavans volunteers have learnt from none other than Bapu himself.
About The Camp :
The Day One of the camp, 26th January 2020, was the day of material distribution. The activities were shaped entirely by the year-long surveys and their analysis. Accordingly, 9097 families from 93 villages received clothes under the ‘Juney te Soney’ (‘Old is Gold’) program. These families were also provided with hygiene material enough to take care of their requirements for three months. Thereafter, the required material gets provided through the local centres of the Foundation. The ‘Hygiene Kits’ distributed consisted of toothpowder, bathing soaps, cleaning soaps, combs (general and lice), water purifying solution, anti-scabies lotion, etc. As per the every-year practice, the Foundation with the help of its volunteers transported and almost door-delivered the relief material to the villagers than make them carry it.
The Day Two, the 27th January 2020, focused entirely on the medical aspects and sports, uniform distribution to the school children. A general health checkup of 8,932 students was done. Additionally 7000+ villagers also benefited from the free health checkup which was conducted by a team of 161 doctors that included ophthalmic, orthopaedic, pediatric specialists, surgeons and consultants, who were assisted by 198 paramedics. For the two days, a part of the camp area was even converted into a ‘Super Speciality Facility’, where needy locals from 445 villages and hamlets were provided facilities for X-ray, ECG, tooth extraction, skin treatment and special OPD for ENT, cardiac, surgery, etc. A team of 76 optometrists too had participated in the camp. They checked the eyesight of 4,113 villagers out of which 3,959 were provided spectacles. Otherwise and in general, poverty keeps the laborious villagers deprived of such advanced medical facilities even during dire need.
The extent and the spread of the camp can be gauged not only from the medical facilities provided to the villagers but also from the 8,932 students of 133 schools who were simultaneously provided with school uniforms, caps, footwear, sports material like frisbee, cricket kits, candles to study at night, etc. Proper care of children was taken by providing them with biscuits, dry fruits and water to sustain them during the camp till a sumptuous and a nutritious lunch was served to them at the campsite.
Another unique feature of the camp is the ‘Annapoorna Mahaprasadam’. A nutritious and tasty meal is served to those attending the camp. The response that the activity receives is such that in a single day, more than 40,000 people, including the villagers and students, have free meals to their heart’s content.
Over and above all of it, an ‘Awareness Campaign’ was held by the ‘Aniruddha’s Institute of Gramvikas’ for the farmers. Demonstrations of various skills were held to help them to have nutritious meals for their families and livestock, develop subsidiary agribusinesses, etc. Useful information regarding the same was also shared with them. The demonstrations featured skills like – kitchen gardening (to ensure that the farmer families get to eat at least one vegetable daily thus ensuring their nutrition), poultry farming, goat farming, cultivation of hydroponics fodder and nutritious Azolla feed for cattle, Jeevamrut preparation (home-made fertilizer to cut down the cost and use of chemical fertilizers), building auto-filling drinking water facilities for goats, etc. For the farmers and even the locals, AIGV will conduct free skill development training in the fields mentioned above. Moreover, impressed with all the ideas and the information shared, the locals have requested AIGV to hold the training programmes locally.
The love and warmth of Sadguru Shree Aniruddha, as also his compassion for the every individual is felt every moment and in every activity here. Bapu’s perfect guidance is instrumental in making the Kolhapur Medical & Healthcare Camp, qualitatively and quantitively, one of the largest and the most effective medical camps. Over the years, the number of people who get benefited from the camp is only increasing, thus making their life better. Bapu has promised, “I shall fill this world with happiness and abound with joy all that be!” (अवघाचि संसार सुखाचा करीन । आनंदे भरीन तिन्ही लोक ॥ )