Health Programs

Calcutta Rescue runs three outpatient clinics at Talapark, Nimtala and Chitpur. 

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Talapark Clinic is the largest of the three clinics. It is situated at Tara Sankar Sarani behind the Talapark play ground in North Kolkata. 

Patients come to Calcutta Rescue not just from Kolkata but from all over West Bengal, many of them travelling great distances to receive treatment. The clinic provides screening of new patients referred from Government Hospitals, treatment of a wide variety of cases, wound dressing and health education. 

Treatment for special categories of patients – patients suffering from Cancer, Aplastic aneamia, Thalassaemia, Neurological Disorders, Tuberculosis, Multi – Drug Resistant Tuberculosis, Thyroid disorder, Wilson’s Disease, Respiratory Disorder, Diabetes, Cardiac problems, Rheumatology and renal failure. Medicines which are not provided by government hospitals are supplied free of cost to the eligible patients.
The clinic has a Mother and Child Health Program where pre – natal and post – natal care is provided to mothers along with special feeding program for babies suffering from malnourishment. 
Wound dressings are provided daily to patients requiring care for conditions such as burns, post surgical wounds and ulcers.
Talapark also runs a Disability Department which operates four days a week on Monday, alternate Tuesday, Wednesday and. Fridays providing physiotherapy , Speech Therapy  and mobility aids for those who need them. Special education, art and dance classes are also provided.
The HIV clinic also operates from the Talapark clinic, every Thursday, providing HIV medications, education and counseling to patients who are HIV positive. Calcutta Rescue works with the School of Tropical Medicine (STM) in Kolkata, which refers patients to CR for investigation, treatment and nutritional benefit. While the government provides first and some second line ART drugs to HIV / AIDS patients, they refer patients to Calcutta Rescue for drugs which are not available in the hospital, some 2nd and 3rd line HIV-drugs, drugs to treat Hepatitis B positive patients or patients suffering from opportunistic infections.

A strong emphasis is placed on Health Education . Such sessions are held regularly according to the needs of the patients.
Benefits such as food, transport allowance, clothing and winter garments are provided to the patients depending on their income, background and medical conditions.
Special benefits are also provided to old aged dependant patient.

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The clinic was inaugurated on 2nd November 2015 to meet the growing demand for quality medical care for the destitute living on the streets. These patients require regular wound dressing and follow up. Also other medical problems like tuberculosis, leprosy, vitamin deficiency and severe burns are common. Due to physical challenges and difficulty in transportation, patients from Street Medicine are unable to access the service at regular intervals from the existing CR clinics which are located far away. Therefore for the convenience of these patients CR started Nimtala Clinic. Kolkata Municipal Corporation in appreciation of the work done by the Street Medicine team has provided a space for the clinic. The clinic provides treatment to 35-40 patients daily. One dedicated doctor, along with staff take care of the patients 6 days in a week. 
Nimtala Street Medicine Clinic provides the following services-

  • Referral to Non-Governmental hospital with in house facility for treatment of any serious wound and injury. 
  • Wound dressing 
  • Referral of co-constructive surgery and management of difficult wounds
  • Referral to the government clinics and hospitals for diagnosis and supply of drugs for the treatment of tuberculosis and leprosy patients.
  • General & special medications (Cardiac diseases, diabetic, respiratory problem) to patients who are unable to attend CR clinics.
  • Nutritional benefits, clothing and transport allowances to those in need.
  • Shelter home is arranged for old aged destitute patients according to their medical status.
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The Chitpur Clinic is mainly for Calcutta Rescue’s Leprosy (Hansen’s disease) patients. This clinic provides treatment to 15 – 20 patients daily, mainly long- term sufferers from leprosy and its permanent effects. Most of our patients no longer have active Leprosy but have been left with deformities and unhealed wounds. The clinic currently has 220 patients who have been left with various deformities due to Leprosy.

The Foot Wear Workshop is operating from the premises making special shoes. The clinic provides and maintains specialized orthopaedic footwear made of Micro-Cellular Rubber (MCR) for patients with a comfortable cushioned foot protection. Spring shoes are also made for foot drop patients.

The Chitpur Clinic provides the following services:

  • Referral to government hospital for diagnosis of suspected cases of Hansen’s disease (Leprosy).
  • Providing general and special medications (cardiac diseases, diabetic, respiratory diseases) to patients who are enrolled in the clinic when necessary.
  • Provision of physiotherapy in the clinics as well as health education.
  • Foot washing and wound dressings are carried out on a daily basis by a trained dresser for ulcers and wounds and provision of dressings at home are also provided. 
  • Referral for re-constructive surgery and management of difficult wounds through other service providers.
  • Providing crutches, wheelchairs, hearing aids and other medical aids.
  • Nutritional benefits, plastic sheet, clothing, transport allowances and house rent for those in need.

The Street Medicine Program was started in 2006, targeting the specific group of people living in street and that had previously been identified as being in serious need of health support by Calcutta Rescue.
  
Most of the males that Calcutta Rescue helps earn between a meager Rs. 40 – 60 per day rickshaw pullers, cycle van drivers, sweepers, paper collectors, waste disposal collectors, daily labourers, etc. The women often earn less, many of them working as maidservants or rag pickers. Some, of course, resort to begging. The majority of their children have no schooling; but those that do often have an irregular attendance record. The general health condition of such a group is poor – malnourishment is not uncommon and they suffer recurring incidences of coughs, colds, diarrhoea, and fever. Their awareness on health issues is minimal or non-existent. And not surprisingly, addiction, as well as physical and sexual abuse is widespread.

Calcutta Rescue’s Street Medicine Program provides immediate primary medical treatment to people living on the Kolkata streets. It refers children for immunisation if required. It also refers patients to Calcutta Rescue’s own clinics and government clinics for further treatment if needed. This program also aims to improve the population’s knowledge of health issues and to enable them to access other health services in the city.
Operating from an ambulance parked in the street, a Calcutta Rescue team, consisting of a Doctor and Paramedics, delivers holistic medical and social support to Kolkata’s sick and marginalized street dwellers, offering preventive and curative treatments as well as health education. Much of the treatment on the Street Medicine Program concerns de-worming, anti lice and scabies treatment and the administration of Vitamin A prophylaxis. Patients with common ailments are treated at the site itself and those with chronic diseases are referred to one of the Calcutta Rescue Clinics or to Government facilities as decided by the attending doctor. Health education on topics such as Worm Infestation, Vitamin-A, Immunisation, Ante-Natal/Post Natal Care, Leprosy, Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, Hygiene, Nutrition, etc., are an integral part of the services offered.

India is the highest TB burden country with an estimated incidence figure of 2.2 million cases for India, out of a global incidence of 8.7 million cases. It is estimated that about 40% of the Indian population is infected with TB bacteria, the vast majority of whom have latent rather than active TB.
Incidence of TB is high in West Bengal also and the incidence is rising as increasing numbers of people are exposed to the disease. Unfortunately there is a public stigma attached to TB that, naturally, creates a fear, particularly amongst the uneducated. Patients are unwilling to be tested and remain infectious for longer period of time, allowing the disease to spread.
In 1999, Calcutta Rescue was selected to work as a government partner in a defined urban area of 55,000; with the Calcutta District TB Control Society (a local government agency)  as part of the Indian Government’s new TB control program – the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP).
Calcutta Rescue health worker directly supervises the anti-TB medicines intake by the patients.  The TB Control Society supplies the anti TB drugs and conducts sputum microscopy to diagnose patients.
Calcutta Rescue has also joined the Government of India DOTs Plus Program, for the treatment of those, suffering from Multiple (MDR) and Extreme (XDR) Drug Resistant Tuberculosis.