Fifth Annual Public Health Lecture on the topic “Reaching the Health Care to Unreached”.
Reach the unreached for health

Fifth Annual Public Health Lecture was organized by School of Public Health, PGIMER, Chandigarh today at Lecture Theatre-1, Nehru Hospital, PGIMER from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM to mark the foundation day of Master of Public Health. The lecture was delivered by Padmashree awardeeDr. H. Sudarshan, Secretary, Karuna Trust, Jayanagar, Bangalore on the topic “Reaching the Health Care to Unreached”.

Prof. Rajesh Kumar, Dean (Academics) and Head, Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, PGIMER welcomed the audience and mentioned that “the efforts to reach the unreached started in our institute in 1975 when a Rural Health Project was started in Naraingarh. It was followed by the establishment of Department of Community Medicine in 1977 along with initiation of PhD program. Later in 1996 MD Community Medicine was also started. Currently, Department of Community Medicine & School of Public Health conduct training programs in PhD, MD, & MPH. Five year BPH program is also approved and will be started by next academic session. The outreach activities of our Institute have been extended to Sangrur, Una, Bhota, and will be extended to Ferozepur. Family Medicine Department and MD Family Medicine program has been approved for our Sangrur Satellite Center”.

Dr. Arvind Rajwanshi, Dean (Research), PGIMER welcomed the speaker Dr. H. Sudarshan, Secretary, Karuna Trust, Bangalore. Dr. Sudarshan has a vast experience of working with the unreached tribal population across the country for the last 33 years. In 1980, he founded the Integrated Tribal Development Project in Karnataka under the Vivekananda Girijana Kalyana Kendra. Later, he founded the Karuna Trust in 1986 for integrated rural development through health, education and livelihood security. Dr Sudarshan has achieved several remarkable awards for his achievements- Padmashree award, Right Livelihood Award, to name a few. His contributions to policy and program in India include currently being a member of ‘Independent Commission on Health in India’; Member, Core Group on Health, National Human Rights Commission; Member, Advisory Group on Community Action, National Rural Health Mission; and Member, Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust of Karnataka Government.

Dr. H. Sudarshan motivated the audience by sharing his experiences of providing health care to the unreached tribal population. He started his carrer with the curative health services followed by his initiatives for community development and providing comprehensive primary healthcare to the tribal population. He integrated modern health care with the traditional health practices of the tribal population. He put his efforts to organize the tribal community to fight for their land rights and ultimately succeeded in getting them all land rights three years back. In 1986, he founded Karuna Trust for integrated rural development through health, education and livelihood security. The trust focuses on strengthening primary health care to provide comprehensive care to one million people, addressing gaps in these remote centers through innovations – telemedicine, health insurance and integration of mental health to name a few. The trust is providing all primary health care services at Rs. 200/- per person per capita. Additional cost of Rs. 5/- and Rs. 1/- is charged for providing mental health services and screening of breast and cervical cancer in women, respectively. He also shared the examples of working with the violent tribal population in difficult terrains of Arunachal Pradesh and Jarawa tribes of Andaman and Nicobar islands. He volunteered to chair the Karnataka Governments’ Task Force on Health & Family welfare as well as led a ‘battle’ against the ‘epidemic of corruption’ as the Vigilance Director of the Karnataka Lokayukta (Ombudsman). In his concluding remarks, he inspired the young professionals to have three qualities to be a good leader. We need to have a) concern and empathy for poor and marginalized; b) an ability to understand their problem and find a solution and c) Put ideas into practice in-spite of insurmountable obstacles. He motivated all to adopt the Gandhian principle of simplicity and find alternate ways of leading life.

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Editor in Chief of City Darpan, national hindi news magazine.

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