Daughter of all mothers: This medical officer in Bengal earns praise among tribal community for her care
After office hours, medical officer Shrabani Ghoshal goes to villages located in dense forests of Jhargram to make homemakers and women aware of health hygiene, reports Pranab Mondal
WEST BENGAL: Whether it is scorching heat, torrential rain or cold, Shrabani Ghoshal always has more work to do outside her chamber at a state-run health centre in Jhargram district.
The faces of poor tribals or people from backward classes, remind Shrabani of her next destination beyond her official work.
The medical officer is posted at Jamboni block in the backward region of West Bengal, which is popularly known as part of Junglemahal since the Lalgarh movement spearheaded by CPI (Maoists) in 2008-2009.
After attending to patients at the health centre, Shrabani visits villages -- around 50 of them by turns -- located in dense forests of the area. She is known as “daughter of all mothers” in the area.
Shrabani has set a goal for herself: make homemakers and young girls aware of health hygiene.
“The lack of awareness invites many diseases, especially seasonally ones. If these mothers are aware of basic health hygiene, they can protect their children and other family members,” said Shrabani, who does not support private practice.
When the 2017 batch MBBS doctor joined as the medical officer at Jamboni block, she was shocked to see the situation.
“In monsoon, the nine sub-centres of the block were flooded with patients suffering from bacterial diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera. Many would suffer at their home. While giving medicine to them, I found that a few tablets wouldn’t do anything alone. I decided to make the mothers and young girls aware of the root cause of their diseases,’’ she recalled.
Namita Sardar will never forget how Sharabani turned out to be a messiah for her.
“Three of our family members were suffering from diarrhoea two years ago. We could not visit the local health centre. Then one day, she came to my house and treated them. She also taught me how to take care of health hygiene, right from using boiled water to preparing oral rehydration solution (ORS),’’ said the resident of Burishole village.
Other than her personal experience that touched her heart, Shrabani said she would always be grateful to the former Trinamool Congress MP of Jhargram Lok Sabha constituency, Uma Soren, who is also a doctor.
“She (Soren) inspired me to work for the poor. I was advised not only to give medicine to patients but also make them aware of basic hygiene so that they do not need to visit a hospital the next time,’’ she said. Jamboni block has 281 villages, where most people depend on agriculture for livelihood. Many work either as daily wagers in the area or migrant labourers.
“Proti bochor borshay amader gramer onekei peter osukh e osustho hoye porto. Kintu uni eshe amader shikhiye diyechen ki kore choto choto obbhesh manle nijeder oishob osukh thheke dure rakhte hoy. Amra konodin onake bhulbo na. Uni amar moto shob mayeder kache meye (every monsoon, many at our village suffered from stomach diseases. She taught us how basic habits can help us keep off such diseases. We will never forget her help. She is daughter of all mothers like me),’’ said Purnima Mahato, a resident of Jamboni village.
Villagers depend on agriculture for livelihood
Jamboni block in West Bengal’s Jhargram district has 281 villages, where most people depend on agriculture for livelihood. Many work either as daily wagers in the area or migrant labourers
Three of our family members were suffering from diarrhoea two years ago. We could not visit the local health centre. Then one day, she came to my house and treated them. She taught me how to take care of health hygiene Namita Sardar, a resident of Burishole village