Since I’ve been away, the Trust in the UK who had expressed an interest in contributing to a project in RUHSA received our project report very favourably and have committed 2.63 lakh rupees (263,000rs = ~£3000) to the Keelalathur Pilot scheme, which is great news. This is the projected budget needed to get the community centre building up and running, a new kitchen built out the back of the building, the buying of equipment and furnishing eg chairs, benches, kitchen & eating utensils, also future costs of daily newspapers and a few magazines, as well as the 20p per person food ration. The building work will probably take a few months, and we are hoping that it will be ready to coincide with the visit of one of the Trustees in January with the 30th anniversary of RUHSA which takes place on 17th January. Time marcheth on, however, and I’m not sure if it can be done in time, as it’s only 2 months away now.
Meanwhile Matthew and Kalaimanai have been clarifying exactly who are the elderly who might potentially use the centre and, out of a village of 1500, they have a list of 36. Each of these people will be visited and a baseline evaluation questionnaire including information about demographics, economics, quality of life and physical and mental health will be conducted. All of them will be invited to attend the centre and we will have to wait and see how many people actually come.
In the meantime, I have, very excitingly, submitted the first assignment of my MSc. Since coming out to India, I have been doing an online MSc in International Primary Care which is utterly brilliant. Not only is it amazing to be able to do a course based in London whilst sitting in India, but my first study partner was in South Africa and my co-moderator for our first seminar was in Thailand. As a subject, it is relevant to both my work in the UK and in India and has already been incredibly useful in giving me better theoretical understanding of what we are trying to achieve here in Keelalathur and also was helpful in my lectures to CMC medical students about managing diabetes from a Primary Care perspective, because they had no idea what primary care meant. I hope that, in the long run, it will equip me with a greater understanding of the infrastructure of Primary Care so I can understand where the future of the NHS lies, but I also hope it helps create opportunities to teach the theories of Primary Care internationally. It is so exciting to be part of the NHS, this project and this MSc and realise what amazing future potential there is out there for improving community health.