I really loved my experience at Project Kodaikanal! Now I am in medical school, and I am always referring back to what I did in the months that I was in Kodiakanal, but I'll try to cut it a little short for this review!
Most mornings of my internship were spent helping out in the various departments at the local hospital. I was able to shadow and work with a general practictioner, dentist, physiotherapist, and ophthalmologist. In addition, the hospital has a pharmacy, lab, and an optometrist. Not only did I gain an invaluable experience for my future medical career while rotating through these different departments, but it was readily evident how much the subsidized healthcare that the hospital provided impacted every one of the patients I encountered. Nowhere else would they be able to receive these services for the price that they did and nowhere else would they have such a comprehensive healthcare experience. Patients were able to come and have their teeth and eyes checked on the same day in the same location. In addition to saving money on their actual healthcare costs, this meant that the patients only had to take a few hours off of work and saved money on transportation, as well. Further, each year, the hospital hosts a free plastic surgery camp for burn victims and those with congenital defects. Patients from around the country come just for this. It was the first time that I got the chance to be scrubbed into the operating room, but also the first time that a grateful patient requested for me to be beside them!
In the afternoons, we would go to local creches, where we conducted weekly health check-ups on the children. Powered by tourism, Kodaikanal’s economy depends on the service sector, and, thus, most people have menial jobs as daily laborers. These jobs simply do not bring in enough to supply children with nutritious meals. The consequence? The children of Kodaikanal locals are underweight and malnourished, in contrast to those of the tourists that so often storm the same streets. Through the Foundation for the International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC), I was able to start up a nutrition program in three local crèches because I believe with the proper education and some financial support, parents can act upon the already existing desire to provide the best future for their children.
Basically, my internship was an invaluable experience. The staff at the site have already asked me to return and I have promised them that I will when I am a doctor and hopefully, will be able to make even greater changes while there!