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INDIA: Don Bosco Development Society Medical Health Camp Provided Screening to More than 550 Women

(MissionNewswire) The Don Bosco Development Society in Mumbai, India, in collaboration with the Greater Mumbai Co-operative Bank, RG Stone Hospital and the Don Bosco Alumni organization at the Matunga Unit school, organized a medical health camp in March for marginalized women living in poverty. The camp was held at the Don Bosco Provincial House in the Matunga area of Mumbai and was open to women attending self-help groups operating within Salesian centers in and around the city of Mumbai.

The goal of the medical health camp was to provide preventative screenings and health education on cancer and related health issues resulting from high blood pressure, excess weight and other factors. The event, which was held free of charge for participants, provided education and health screenings for more than 550 women.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), close to 5.8 million Indians die each year from heart and lung diseases, stroke, cancer and diabetes. One in four Indians are at risk of dying as a result of a non-communicable disease before they reach the age of 70. Doctors in the country are also finding that people are being affected by heart disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases at younger ages.

The WHO notes that globally, more than 4 million deaths are caused by exposures to indoor household air pollution and 3.7 million deaths are attributed to outdoor air pollution each year. Approximately 40 percent of the deaths from indoor air pollution and 25 percent of those attributed to outdoor air pollution occur in Southeast Asia. The poor in India who live near busy roads and industrial sites are disproportionately affected by air pollution as are women and children who spend more time at home breathing in smoke and soot from cooking stoves.

“Salesian missionaries care for the sick in nearly 100 clinics and hospitals, located mostly in rural areas, around the globe,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “The medical health camp provided many Indian women access to necessary health education and screenings that will help to prevent disease and improve their overall quality of life.”

During the medical health camp, medical personnel administered screenings for diabetes, high blood pressure and body mass index. Gynecological and sonography services to screen for kidney and gall bladder stones, hernias, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts and appendicitis were also provided. In addition, the women who attended the camp were educated on the benefits related to income planning, saving and loans.

With more than 1.2 billion people, India has the world’s fourth largest economy and according to UNICEF, is home to one-third of the world’s poor. Close to 217 million of India’s poor are children. Although more than 53 million people escaped poverty between 2005 and 2010, most remain vulnerable to falling back below the poverty line.

Lack of educational opportunities in India are often due to issues of caste, class and gender and with 44 percent of the workforce illiterate, there is much work to be done. Less than 10 percent of the working-age population has completed a secondary education and too many secondary graduates do not have the knowledge and skills to compete in today’s changing job market.


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