Four year old little Santosh lives with his family in Annaiviluthankenni, a village situated 40 kms away from Thanjavur Tamil Nadu. About 250 families live in this village. The main occupation of these villagers is animal breeding and farming; most of them work as laborers for daily wages.
Santosh studies in a local government school along with his two elder siblings.
Raghu, his father, is the sole bread winner and Rajeshwari, his mother is a home maker. The meager income Raghu earns working as a laborer for daily wages is not sufficient to provide the basic livelihood needs for his family. Raghu often tried to get work for extra hours to help support his family as whatever he earned was never enough!
One afternoon Santosh came back sick from school, held his mother and complained about itching all over his body. He also had painful boils on his fingers and on his back too. Santosh was just not able to bear the pain and itching the boils were causing, that he kept crying all the time. Then Rajeshwari noticed that Santosh was also losing his appetite as he refused to eat and was just getting weaker. He was suffering a lot and no home remedies could give him any relief. Annaivilunthankenni has no hospital and transport facilities were non existent, Rajeshwari requested her neighbor to help her go to the nearest hospital that was situated 20kms away, on their bicycle.
The doctor gave him an injection and prescribed few medicines to relieve his itching and heal the boils on his body. Santosh experienced some relief which made the family happy, but, the problem recurred after two days. With no other option, Santosh was sent to school and the itching continued to trouble this little child. Santosh’s situation was going from bad to worse and this worried his parents a lot. There had no money and could not afford to take him to a better hospital.
One day, Santosh’s elder sister returned from school and brought back news about Operation Blessing India’s (OBI) free medical camp that was being organized at their school campus. Raghu was very happy to hear this news as he was hoping to see his son healed and made well. He asked his wife to take Santosh to the camp and made sure she got him ready before he left to work.
The volunteers at the medical camp helped Rajeshwari to register her son for consultation and they were led to the doctor who examined Santosh and diagnosed his problem. Santosh had a bad skin infection called “Scabies” and he needed to take the right treatment in addition to maintaining proper health and hygiene. The doctor counseled Rajeshwari on cleanliness and the importance of tidy surroundings, bathing, washing of hands before and after food, and keeping nails clean and trimmed regularly etc. The doctor prescribed the required treatment (anti parasite pills, lotion and vitamin tablets) for Santosh. Rajeshwari collected the free medicines from the OBI pharmacy and the Pharmacist explained the dosage details and application guidelines for the lotion assuring them of complete recovery.
Rajeshwari was very happy that she brought her son to this camp as she not only got a solution for him but also got some valuable guidelines for daily life. She said, “I was only concerned about cooking, doing household chores and looking after my children’s immediate needs. I never understood the importance of cleanliness; neither did I know the need for the other healthy habits that I’m supposed to develop. This was really an eye opener to me; I will make sure that our surrounding is kept clean, see that my children bathe daily and follow the tips I have learnt here. Thank you OBI.”