When I applied for internship in DFIT, I was not knowing what to expect as this was my first experience with a NGO. My interest in the field of tuberculosis bought me across Damien foundation. I had gone through the website to know more about the activities of the organisation before joining but it is after joining here that I came to know about the level of commitment to service among all the staff of DFIT.
Even though I had some basic knowledge about the RNTCP program, I got a better understanding of the practical aspects of it during my period of internship. I was also told about the Livelihood Enhancement Program, through which the organisation provides support to patients from poor socio-economic background in the form of financial help, to setup small business or to help in continuing their education. This will really be of immense help in getting their life back on track. I visited all the 10 DMCs, some of them even multiple times. I was able to interact with all the STSs, STLSs, LTs, TBHVs and other staffs. I was told about the different regimens for normal TB patients, MDR& XDR patients, patients with other co-morbidities etc., registers maintained for the RNTCP program, the NIKSHAY app- how to enter patient details and how to track patients, notification of the cases, community meetings, patient advocacy etc.
I was also able to attend an ASHA workers training program conducted by DMC 3 in a nearby medical dispensary. I was also lucky to be a part of a health camp organised by DMC 5 to detect symptomatic cases of TB & leprosy in the community. I was also able to interact with few leprosy patients who were admitted in the hospital who shared their history of diseases and the treatments they have undergone. I also interacted with a bone TB patient who refused to take treatment initially and but now is undergoing treatment. I used to visit the DMCs along with the CMO\ MO on their weekly visits. I also visited the RTRM hospital along with the STS. I also observed how a slide is stained for sputum microscopy and also got to see the preserved slide of a TB positive patient who was graded 3+. I could also attend a motivational talk by Ms. Prema Iyer, also known as ‘Campus Nani’ which was arranged for the DFIT staffs. ICTC counsellor also briefed me about the counselling they provide to the patients who comes for HIV testing. I got a chance to visit the one of the patient’s home along with a lab technician when he went for the initial visit after the confirmation of the case. I was also explained briefly about the diagnosis and treatment of leprosy cases, about their hygiene measures and exercises by the physiotherapist. I also observed few exercise sessions.
I could also observe a evaluation session of DMC 6 wherein all the registers where cross checked and information on the registers were also cross checked with the patients present there. I attended the lab technician re-orientation training session, wherein there was a presentation by the STLS about the microbiological aspects, reagents, staining procedures, treatment protocols for different regimens, chemoprophylaxis of children under six and detailed discussion about each requisition form for CBNAAT,LPA etc., in depth discussion about RNTCP registration card etc. This was followed by practical test for the lab technicians for staining the slide. This shows how much hard work and effort goes to training the lab technicians to be the best at their work.
I am very grateful to Damien Foundation India Trust to have given me this opportunity to be part of its family and to help me in this learning process.
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