A life changing appointment for Aussie nurses

Equal Health provided us with an experience of a lifetime when we spent a fortnight in southern India, providing health care to those who need it most.

We were a part of India Camp 2013, a multidisciplinary outreach camp servicing the rural areas of Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. We were in the Trichy team which consisted of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses, a GP, dentists, dental assistants, optometrists and optical dispensers.

The journey started with a six hour bus ride south of Chennai to reach a town called Tiruchirappalli. As registered nurses, we were assigned to the medical team whereby our days consisted of packing and transporting medical equipment to various locations including schools and medical outposts, setting up clinics, and providing medical treatment.

Each day started with clinic construction, where we quickly learnt to use whatever resources were available. Rickety steel benches, tarpaulins and rope were used to construct 'examination' rooms, and a clinic free from falling coconuts and the beating sun. This was an experience in itself, let alone the hundreds of people who came filing through the doors each day ... nothing could prepare us for the volume of people we tended! Thankfully we had wonderful interpreters provided by SEVAI (Society for Education Village Action and Improvement) a partner agency who assisted us in organising and providing health care.

Working under the guidance of a GP and led by Perth optician and founder of Equal Health, Paul Clarke, the Trichy team provided health care to approximately 1,450 people. We assessed, treated and educated on a variety of illnesses and conditions to a diverse range of patients - infants to the elderly. The most common presenting conditions included, gastro intestinal tract complaints, weakness and dizziness, cough and respiratory conditions, gynecological issues, skin disorders, diabetes and hypertension. We stocked basic analgesia, antibiotics and lotions, and soon missed our luxuries of modern medicine such as radiology and pathology services.

Efficiently organised by Equal Health, this trip was an incredibly rewarding humanitarian experience. This was also made possible by Community Service Leave provided by WA Health and further facilitated by the WA Branch of the ANF through the ANFIUWP Humanitarian Aid Volunteers Fund. We wish to thank our respective places of work and employers in supporting us to participate in this journey.

Trisha Davey and Jodie Pengelly, Nurses, India Camp 2013, Perth.

Children coming to the Equal Health clinic

Long queues of children arriving at Equal Health's clinic.