Keeping the children healthy:

Looking after 50 or more children means there are bound to be issues to do with health from time to time. Elsie is a trained counsellor and is always in tune with the children's worries and concerns. Keeping a close eye on the children's physical health is something that the staff at awake take very seriously; we know that diseases and infection can spread quickly in the Tropics.

  • Once a year, everyone (children and staff included) gets a MEDICAL CHECK UP- this includes eye tests (as well as an additional 'Eye camp'), skin tests for leprosy and blood tests.
  • Everyone has their eyes tested to see if they are short-sighted, long- sighted or have vitamin deficiency. In addition, 8 children, identified with potential problems, were chosen to take part in a more detailed 'Eye camp' in Trichy in April. However, due to severe drought at this time, it didn't happen, so it will go ahead in September instead.
  • A local Health Inspector and his team, from the local Government hospital, visit regularly. The Inspector comes monthly once or twice; his team visit once or twice a week. They check the kitchens and water tank regularly and give advice. They give free de-worming tablets and, also, Iron tablets for the grown-up girls, in addition to Multivitamin tablets and some paracetemol tablets. Elsie and Krishna find this extremely helpful.
  • A Village Health Nurse visits once a month and checks up on the children, gives them more health awareness, as well as support in times of fever.
  • Blood tests of HB (Haemoglobin) take place for all children twice a year.
  • A very good local doctor from a small Private hospital, in Kannavadi, gives the children consultations for 20 rupees each child when needed- this is a very good rate.
  • Dental care- only the children who have joined most recently have had check ups. The plan is for more and a 'Dental Camp' in future. Check ups are cheap, but treatment is expensive. Calcium deficiency is common in tribal children.
  • No children have asthma at present.
  • Fractures and bone breakage amongst the children is very rare ( when this does happen, which Elsie only remembers twice, costs for treatment are very high).