Hyderabad: A clinic exclusive for women, set up in Masjid Mohammed Mustafa in Wadi-Mahmood, Rajendranagar by the Helping Hand Foundation in association with SEED organisation in USA, has treated over 25,000 patients last year.

The clinic, which is completely run by an all-women team consisting of doctors, nurses, counsellors, dieticians and paramedics, catered to a daily footfall of 150 to 200 patients hailing from around 30 odd slums in the Rajendarnagar mandal such as MM Pahadi 1 and 2, Suleman Nagar A, B, and C blocks, Chintalmet, Bhopal Nagar, Hasanagar, Indira Nagar, NTR Nagar, and Bara Imam ki Pahadi.

The clinic has also pioneered in establishing unique health programs for the first time at a grassroot level like a wellness and weight loss programme, community ophthalmology, community dentistry, community non-communicable disease (NCD) prevention and control, and mid-day meals for children.

According to Helping Hand Foundation, out of the 25,000 patients who availed free services in the last year, 47 percent were adults, 32 percent children, 12 percent were cases related to gynaecology, eight percent dental cases and two percent consisted of ophthalmology patients.

Impact on Community

On the completion of one year of operations, the NGO, which runs the clinic, conducted a survey to assess the impact the health services delivered through the clinic, in which 500 women who visited the clinic were interviewed.

Among the respondents, 80 per cent of women said that there was a general improvement in their health due to quality primary care and timely medication. They said the need to visit the clinic significantly reduced from two to three visits per month to almost negligible. Around 72 per cent of women said apart from medication, counselling by family physicians gave them a lot of moral support and confidence to battle the illness. Around 75 per cent of patients with chronic illnesses said the stress that comes from visiting quacks or searching for doctors has been reduced.

"Around 95 per cent of women said the free treatment at the centre has helped them save up to Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 per visit which amounted up to Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 per month. Increased saving has helped many foot the bill of ration and pay for the education of their children. As many as 1,248 women above the age of 30 were screened for NCDs and 48 per cent were found to be at high risk of developing NCDs due to being overweight and other risk factors like family history and lifestyle," said Mujtaba Hasan Askari, Helping Hand Foundation.

As many as 874 patients were provided free dental services, in which 70 per cent were treated for dental caries, 20 per cent for plaque and tatar and 10 per cent were tooth extractions on account of tooth decay. The average treatment cost of basic dental services would be Rs 500 per visit and this would have escalated to Rs 10 lakh for these patients.

As many as 445 women were screened for visual impairments and 60 per cent had refractive errors which was detected incidentally. Around 32 per cent had single vision and 29 per cent had double vision, six per cent were found with cataract, and 1 per cent had hypertensive retinopathy.

"We are glad that we have successfully brought multi-dimensional interventions at the primary care level which has helped prevent, control chronic diseases in vulnerable sections and has had a huge socio-economic impact," said Askari.

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