Andhra Pradesh

Neurologist takes up mission to spread health awareness

Reaching out: Dr. Bindu Menon examining a patient in her fully-equipped medical van at Vedicherla village near Gudur in Nellore district.

Reaching out: Dr. Bindu Menon examining a patient in her fully-equipped medical van at Vedicherla village near Gudur in Nellore district.   | Photo Credit: kravikumar

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Dr. Bindu visits villages and treats patients

Curious people gather at the rachabanda, the village square, as a medical van of neurologist Dr. Bindu Menon meanders through the dusty lanes and comes to a screeching halt at the remote Vedicherla village, near Gudur, in SPSR Nellore district on Sunday morning. Little aware of what Dr. Bindu is going to speak, about 150 villagers on a call given by village elders assemble in a routine manner near ‘Neurology on Wheels’, a fully-equipped van to treat patients.

But after hearing her, they return home fully aware of the dos and don’ts to prevent brain stroke, epilepsy and other neurological disorders. “When will you come back to our village again?” is the one question put by the villagers who show their hospitality by giving Dr. Menon and her team of volunteers coconut water, butter milk and some eatables.

London-returned Dr. Menon and her team make it a point to visit remote villages every week as awareness about health issues and more so about neurological disorders is very low in rural areas.

Inspiration

The urge in her to educate rural masses and treat them in time came from college days when she watched heart-rending scenes of patients suffering from neurological disorders from remote villages coming late to the Medical College Hospital in Bhopal and succumbing to the diseases.

“Those experiencing seizures suffer from social stigma and rural folk think that they are possessed by a god or goddess,” observes Dr. Menon, who takes pains to remove superstitious beliefs during her visit to villages treating thousands of patients in the process, through the Dr. Bindu Menon Foundation floated by her in 2013. She also provides medicines to patients.

“It is important to take medication for a longer period for patients suffering from hypertension, diabetes, epilepsy, stroke and other neurological disorders. But many patients in villages discontinue medication as they can’t afford it,” she says in a conversation with The Hindu.

App for help

Though people in rural areas do a lot of physical activity they are at a risk of developing neurological disorders mainly because of consumption of common salt several times more than the required 2,300 mg per day (about 1 teaspoon), she explains to a group of schoolgirls. It is the sedentary lifestyle that is posing a grave risk to urbanites.

Dr. Menon, who did research on the impact of prolonged medication on epilepsy patients under an Indian Council of Medical Research project, launched a toll-free helpline, 18001020237, that educates people on neurological disorders and their prevention in Telugu, English and Hindi, besides a mobile app.

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Printable version | Nov 22, 2019 8:56:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/neurologist-takes-up-mission-to-spread-health-awareness/article29676082.ece

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