Sneha Thomas’s Journey to SEWA Rural as ICA Ambassador

Sneha Thomas


Though I have read about many cases where an individual or a small group has created an impact in someone else’s life, I never thought I would be able to witness this in my real life. The work of SEWA Rural is just an inexplicable example where a small group of individuals made a difference in the society and led to the upbringing of the community itself. Although SEWA Rural Hospital is faced with many obstacles due to the lack of resources, new and innovative technology used in medicine, and financial burdens, they are still focused on the end goal which is to provide health services to as many people as possible, even if it only means giving a prescription for pain management instead of taking an MRI or CT scan.

In any event, I was able to learn so much in a month about medicine and global public health because of many amazing personalities at SEWA Rural Hospital. I was able to spend as much time as I wanted in the hospital with various doctors in the OPD, the Operation Theater, general and gynecology wards, and in the Sonography rooms. This was an incredible experience for me as a pre-medical student because I got to see all the procedures and the practice of medicine even before entering medical school; this was indeed a phenomenal and rare experience in my life.  Moreover, the doctors, nurses, and staff at the hospital took the time and effort to explain different procedures even while they were under a tight schedule. Taking the blood pressure and pulse manually, listening to the fetal heart sounds, calculating the expected delivery date (EDD) using LMD, estimating the age of the baby by looking at the size of the uterus are some of the procedures I was able to do with my limited medical training.

Considering the fact I did not speak neither Guajarati nor Hindi, I was extremely worried that language was ultimately going to be barrier for my learning. However I was astound once I reached Jhagadia and started talking to people. Everyone was so kind and willing to help. As long as I said couple of words they knew, people were willing to teach me more words and make me feel at home. Though there were times when people came to me and started talking in Gujarati for 10-15 minutes without realizing I did not understand most of the things they said, I was able to communicate with most people using universal expressions and the few Guajarati phrases I knew. By the end of the month, I did not even want to come back to the U.S. since I made numerous friends at SEWA.

In summation, my trip to the SEWA Rural hospital was a life changing experience for me. I was able to learn so much in a short period of time; the learning experience was astronomical compared to my expectations.  Above all,  I am hoping to go back to Jhagadia in a couple of months. I am sure no matter how many times I go, there will still be plenty to learn and the experience will be as amazing as it has been in the past.


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