Arogya Doot - training people to become guardian angels

Pune: A novel health awareness campaign- Arogya Doot- is teaching people basic life saving skills to deal with medical emergencies pending the patient`s admission to hospital.

Around 3,000 volunteers from various sections of society have so far been trained in this life saving drill on the lines of the protocol devised by the American Heart Association.

The protocol is followed world-wide and includes resuscitation till the arrival of ambulance, according to Sandeep Mahajan, a social worker who is implementing the project in coordination with the Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital (ABMH).

To keep it simple and effective, the socially oriented Arogya Doot (messengers of health) is conducted as a one day training programme by consultants at ABMH who address and impart the drill guidelines to the gathered volunteers who come from women`s organisations, senior citizens` groups, students, youth clubs, NGOs and community health workers.

"Topics ranging from basic life saving skills to lifestyle changes and stress management, as well as necessary information about eye bank and eye donation is given to common citizens whose interest in the programme, which completes one year this month, is ever growing.

Interestingly, out of 3000 volunteers who have been given certificates, 2464 are women, said Mahajan.

The programme which was initially launched with participation of Moraya Samajik Pratishthan, an NGO in Chinchwad near here, was later regularised and conceptualized by ABMH in coordination with Mahajan, widening its reach and scope for people without medical background, said Saurabh Chatterjee of ABMH.

"The first few minutes before the patient gets admitted are crucial and if he gets basic life support help during this period, it can make a difference between life and death. A trained Arogya Doot in the vicinity of the patient in need of emergency help, can make a precious contribution to society," Chatterjee said.

As many as 17 training sessions have so far been successfully completed under the Arogya Doot project, said S P Singh, CEO, ABMH which is now planning to launch a dedicated 24x7 health helpline for Arogya Doot to spread the message.

"Even laughter clubs in the city which are growing in numbers, have enrolled for Arogya Doot training programme in addition to women`s self help groups who are provided transport facility to attend the sessions," added Mahajan.

Chatterjee said police personnel in Pune too had a session in Arogya Doot programme in which the city police commissioner Meeran Borwankar showed keen interest.

"The programme is not rigid. We modify it with the help of senior consultant doctors to suit the skills of a particular group be it women, students or senior citizens", he said.

Those who complete the programme are given a "loyalty card and a certificate" and a pledge to use the knowledge they acquire for the benefit of the Society.


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