By: Rachna Prasad | Date - 5th September 2019

It has been rightly said by Audrey Hepburn - “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands – one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.”

With the quest for doing something for the people, I stumbled across Switch India and found a group of very enthusiastic and dedicated people. With them expanding to Chennai this year, it was amazing to see all the transformation happening.

This being the first camp in Chennai, Malini (head of this camp) and I were worried as to how we will organize a camp on our own. But with the constant guidance of Dr Vinit and Dr Aishwarya, what seemed like an impossible task, slowly started seeming like something achievable.

We set out to look for a suitable place to conduct this camp and like a story slowly unfolding itself, the picture got clearer and clearer. We found SPEED trust NGO who were more than happy to collaborate with us. They seemed a lot more experienced in conducting camps than us but we didn’t let that hamper our confidence. Malini did a wonderful job in organizing everything and dividing the work between the volunteers.

We, a team of 19 volunteers, comprising 13 second and third year students, 4 final years and 2 interns set out on a very auspicious occasion of Teacher’s day, to screen children of Park town. We screened a total of 68 children of 4-14 years of age, ranging from Lkg to 8th standard students.

We had different stations, starting with registration and handing each child with a form that will subsequently be filled at each station. The volunteers of SPEED were very friendly and helped us with maintaining discipline and registration.

Next, they were sent for anthropometry station where their height, weight was measured and their BMI calculated. Each child’s height was plotted on growth chart and it was noted if they fell under undernourished section.

Next was visual acuity, where we found out that many did not have 6/6 vision and might have myopia, and were referred accordingly to ophthalmology department.

And then was the general and systemic examination station where the 8 of us tackled it. We had printed performa which made paediatric examination quite simple and systematic. Though initially we were nervous, but soon got the hang of it.

With us, we had very talented interns Afreen and Rani Pooja, who helped and guided us whenever we were in dilemma. We noted that many had pallor, enlarged tonsils and symptoms suggestive of URI. They were referred accordingly.

After that, they were sent for deworming and were counselled on nutrition, hygiene and menstrual hygiene. To promote hygiene, their nails were also cut then and there.

And with that, we sent the children, hoping we were able to screen and advise them properly and having gained an educating experience together and made quite a few new friends. In the end, everyone had smiling faces.

Thank you Switch India for providing this amazing experience. Looking out for more such camps!!