Bangalore Baptist Hospital, Community Health Division

 

Stories from my photography assignment for the Community Health Division of Bangalore Baptist Hospital. BBH is a leading organisation working in both rural and urban areas of Bangalore for crucial humanitarian development, medical and support projects.

 It is estimated that one third of men in the larger Devanahalli area are addicted to alcohol. Alcohol is accessible and used from an early age. Moreover adulterated drinks brings in additional health challenges to the men here who consume it. This is a portrait of Varalakshmi, the visually impaired wife of Venkatesh. They have one child together. Venkatesh who works as as a manual labourer was an alcoholic for 15+ years but has been clean now through the deaddcition camps and counselling done by  #BangaloreBaptistHospital  in partnership with AA. Varalakshmi told us that she being 50% blind is much manageable today because her husband is sober.

It is estimated that one third of men in the larger Devanahalli area are addicted to alcohol. Alcohol is accessible and used from an early age. Moreover adulterated drinks brings in additional health challenges to the men here who consume it. This is a portrait of Varalakshmi, the visually impaired wife of Venkatesh. They have one child together. Venkatesh who works as as a manual labourer was an alcoholic for 15+ years but has been clean now through the deaddcition camps and counselling done by #BangaloreBaptistHospital in partnership with AA. Varalakshmi told us that she being 50% blind is much manageable today because her husband is sober.

 Rachnahalli medical camp.  #BangaloreBaptistHospital  runs a monthly mobile clinic to primarily address health issues among women and children. Extreme dust bings in asthma and worms as major medical challenges. The camp is located pretty much in the city but the dangers at night are nothing but. Men have to often stay up all night to prevent feral dogs from entering the community. The hounds have killed several chickens but the real fear is the children of the camp. Something simple like barbed wire and flashlights are often unaccessible for a group like this.

Rachnahalli medical camp. #BangaloreBaptistHospital runs a monthly mobile clinic to primarily address health issues among women and children. Extreme dust bings in asthma and worms as major medical challenges. The camp is located pretty much in the city but the dangers at night are nothing but. Men have to often stay up all night to prevent feral dogs from entering the community. The hounds have killed several chickens but the real fear is the children of the camp. Something simple like barbed wire and flashlights are often unaccessible for a group like this.

 This is a portrait of Salma. Three years ago there was an accident with her cooking stove which left her with very severe burns. Her husband unwilling to live with the looks of his wife has since abandoned her. Salma lives with her three children in a tiny tin shed house for which she pays ₹1000 as rent. Her only means of income is support from relatives and by begging for alms. Amidst all of this, it was clear that free treatment, counselling and support provided by  #BangaloreBaptistHospital  goes a long long way.

This is a portrait of Salma. Three years ago there was an accident with her cooking stove which left her with very severe burns. Her husband unwilling to live with the looks of his wife has since abandoned her. Salma lives with her three children in a tiny tin shed house for which she pays ₹1000 as rent. Her only means of income is support from relatives and by begging for alms. Amidst all of this, it was clear that free treatment, counselling and support provided by #BangaloreBaptistHospital goes a long long way.

 Amidst a high number of child births, abortions, unhealthy home deliveries, extreme infant mortality and stories too troubling to share on social media, Dr. Carolin and sister Leela of  #BangaloreBaptistHospital explains aspects of reproductive health to the women of the community in DJ Halli slum. Many in this space don't understand concepts with mere words and so she explains them with visuals and streaming YouTube videos.

Amidst a high number of child births, abortions, unhealthy home deliveries, extreme infant mortality and stories too troubling to share on social media, Dr. Carolin and sister Leela of #BangaloreBaptistHospitalexplains aspects of reproductive health to the women of the community in DJ Halli slum. Many in this space don't understand concepts with mere words and so she explains them with visuals and streaming YouTube videos.

 What are some reasons why we don't eat?... This is a portrait of Bhagyamma. She's about 35 and has been 100% blind from the time she can remember (she has Parkinsons now too). Her elder brother is completely blind as well and they live alone with the aging mother in a tiny house in a village in Dodballapur donated by the relatives. Till about last year, Bhagyamma had a daily morning and evening routine. Her 70 year old mother would hold her hand and take her to the nearby bushes which she uses as her toilet. This had to happen before sunrise and after sunset to avoid the gaze of villagers. Her disability and lack of a toilet in her house meant that she had no other option. The staff at  #BangaloreBaptistHospital  soon found out that often she would miss going to the bushes with her mother before sunrise and so didn't eat for the entire day for fear of needing to go to the toilet. Think about it. Decades of existence of not eating during the day if she can't find her way into the bushes before sunrise! When asked for their needs, they said that they don't want money or resources.... They just need a toilet! Bhagyamma and her brother now use a toilet in their house built by the hospital.

What are some reasons why we don't eat?... This is a portrait of Bhagyamma. She's about 35 and has been 100% blind from the time she can remember (she has Parkinsons now too). Her elder brother is completely blind as well and they live alone with the aging mother in a tiny house in a village in Dodballapur donated by the relatives. Till about last year, Bhagyamma had a daily morning and evening routine. Her 70 year old mother would hold her hand and take her to the nearby bushes which she uses as her toilet. This had to happen before sunrise and after sunset to avoid the gaze of villagers. Her disability and lack of a toilet in her house meant that she had no other option. The staff at #BangaloreBaptistHospital soon found out that often she would miss going to the bushes with her mother before sunrise and so didn't eat for the entire day for fear of needing to go to the toilet. Think about it. Decades of existence of not eating during the day if she can't find her way into the bushes before sunrise! When asked for their needs, they said that they don't want money or resources.... They just need a toilet! Bhagyamma and her brother now use a toilet in their house built by the hospital.

 'We make sure mothers accompany their differently-abled children to the therapy sessions and often when they do, they find encouragement seeing others like thier child and thereby are optimistic about the development of her own' says physiotherapist Sudhakar who also provides leadership to the Empower program conducted by  #BangaloreBaptistHospital . About 10 children come every day where the hospital staff conduct therapy sessions in the premises of the government owned District Disability and Rehabilitation Center. The Hospital also runs a prosthetics center where where many of the staff are differently abled themselves. This setup is an Oasis for families with special needs who otherwise would have to make stressful and expensive trips to city hospitals.

'We make sure mothers accompany their differently-abled children to the therapy sessions and often when they do, they find encouragement seeing others like thier child and thereby are optimistic about the development of her own' says physiotherapist Sudhakar who also provides leadership to the Empower program conducted by #BangaloreBaptistHospital. About 10 children come every day where the hospital staff conduct therapy sessions in the premises of the government owned District Disability and Rehabilitation Center. The Hospital also runs a prosthetics center where where many of the staff are differently abled themselves. This setup is an Oasis for families with special needs who otherwise would have to make stressful and expensive trips to city hospitals.

 Farzana had seven children. Two among them succumbed to the realities of the slums of DJ Halli. A different world within sprawling Bangalore city where poverty, hygiene and economy takes on new definitions. Her husband is a cook but as with many other families here, relationship issues, addictions and other evils mean that she often provides for her large family. This comes in the form of earning ₹50 ($0.75) per day by peeling 2 kilograms of garlic OR the same amount by rolling 2000 incense sticks which in turn pushes in harmful chemicals into thier already weak bodies. When I asked Farzana if she had anything to share, she said said she has nothing to share & that she was happy. And she laughed for a few seconds... And cried. Amidst such unbelievable facts,  #BangaloreBaptistHospital  provides such families with free and low cost treatment and is the only decent clinic for a population of 40,000+ people.

Farzana had seven children. Two among them succumbed to the realities of the slums of DJ Halli. A different world within sprawling Bangalore city where poverty, hygiene and economy takes on new definitions. Her husband is a cook but as with many other families here, relationship issues, addictions and other evils mean that she often provides for her large family. This comes in the form of earning ₹50 ($0.75) per day by peeling 2 kilograms of garlic OR the same amount by rolling 2000 incense sticks which in turn pushes in harmful chemicals into thier already weak bodies.
When I asked Farzana if she had anything to share, she said said she has nothing to share & that she was happy. And she laughed for a few seconds... And cried. Amidst such unbelievable facts, #BangaloreBaptistHospital provides such families with free and low cost treatment and is the only decent clinic for a population of 40,000+ people.

 It is estimated that one third of men in the larger Devanahalli area are addicted to alcohol. Alcohol is accessible and used from an early age. Moreover, adulterated alcohol brings in additional health challenges to the men here who consume it. This is a portrait of Srinivas and his wife Varalakshmi. Srinivas was an alcoholic for 15 years but has been clean now through the deaddcition camps and counselling done by  #BangaloreBaptistHospital  in partnership with AA. Varalakshmi told us that physical abuse and socail stigma crippled her life all these years but after the change in her husband, she has a feeing of dignity and respect. She can stay in her house and spent out in the community in peace.

It is estimated that one third of men in the larger Devanahalli area are addicted to alcohol. Alcohol is accessible and used from an early age. Moreover, adulterated alcohol brings in additional health challenges to the men here who consume it. This is a portrait of Srinivas and his wife Varalakshmi. Srinivas was an alcoholic for 15 years but has been clean now through the deaddcition camps and counselling done by #BangaloreBaptistHospital in partnership with AA. Varalakshmi told us that physical abuse and socail stigma crippled her life all these years but after the change in her husband, she has a feeing of dignity and respect. She can stay in her house and spent out in the community in peace.

 Meet Rehana and her younger sister Aisha. I met Rehana a few weeks ago (photo on top) where she was walking around the dusty colony barefooted carrying her baby sister around. When asked about school, she said that she didn't go to school that day because her mother had to go for a bath. Let that sink in.. A girl who already faces numerous odds doesn't go to school because she has to take care of her sister while her mother goes for a bath. The community has very poor hygiene an sanitation and the availability of water is a privelage which pushes aside even basic education. Today however, I was happy to see her come back from school all smiling and fresh in her uniform (bottom photo). Her mother's next bath day may be another day without school though.  #BangaloreBaptistHospital  Community Health Department provides healthcare and training to this community regularly and my documentary project there enabled to meet these lovely children.

Meet Rehana and her younger sister Aisha. I met Rehana a few weeks ago (photo on top) where she was walking around the dusty colony barefooted carrying her baby sister around. When asked about school, she said that she didn't go to school that day because her mother had to go for a bath. Let that sink in.. A girl who already faces numerous odds doesn't go to school because she has to take care of her sister while her mother goes for a bath. The community has very poor hygiene an sanitation and the availability of water is a privelage which pushes aside even basic education. Today however, I was happy to see her come back from school all smiling and fresh in her uniform (bottom photo). Her mother's next bath day may be another day without school though. #BangaloreBaptistHospital Community Health Department provides healthcare and training to this community regularly and my documentary project there enabled to meet these lovely children.

 I want to finish off this series with this photograph. Being a part of the crowd in this room was one of the most difficult things I've done in recent past. Seen here is Dr. Ravi and his team as they 'hold hands' and take care of a patient dying with the last stages of Buccal Cancer. The sight of the disease is something unexplaniable and better left without images or words. Dr. Ravi says that thier job of Palliative care is really tough but seeing dying patients smile and die and be thankful for the assistance given by  #BangaloreBaptistHospital  Community Health Division to relive their physical, emotional and psychological pain is incredible.

I want to finish off this series with this photograph. Being a part of the crowd in this room was one of the most difficult things I've done in recent past. Seen here is Dr. Ravi and his team as they 'hold hands' and take care of a patient dying with the last stages of Buccal Cancer. The sight of the disease is something unexplaniable and better left without images or words. Dr. Ravi says that thier job of Palliative care is really tough but seeing dying patients smile and die and be thankful for the assistance given by #BangaloreBaptistHospital Community Health Division to relive their physical, emotional and psychological pain is incredible.

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