July 25-August 1:
Rhoda and I left San Francisco on the afternoon of July 25 on BA flights to Bengaluru via London Heathrow. We were so blessed to be the recipients of two of the BA grant tickets and so we were able to sleep significantly on both flights. When we arrived on time at Bengaluru airport, our usual driver, Khan, met us and whisked us up to Puttaparthi in under two hours. The National Highway that has been under construction for years is finally complete so the final leg of the journey is now a piece of cake. The entire trip was smooth as silk!
We spent the first three days in India recovering from jet-lag, getting patient information, registration and clinical impression materials photocopied, and making phone calls to both of our clinic sites for this trip, to coordinate plans and make final arrangements. John also made arrangements for his involvement at the Sri Sathya Sai University in Puttaparthi during the latter portion of this trip, after the two PINCC clinics have been completed.
We begin with the inaugural training at a new clinic in Mysore called the Prerana Women’s Health Initiative, 4-7 August. We have had numerous conversations with the lead doctor at Prerana, Dr. Vijaya. Dr. Vijaya also came to Puttaparthi last December to observe the PINCC VIA screening process at the Sri Sathya Sai Mobile Hospital and managed to get herself up to speed enough to begin doing VIA in January in Mysore (although we didn’t know initially that this was going on). The Prerana Women’s Health Initiative is a clinic established by Dr. Purnima Madhavanan, MD, MPH, PhD.
Dr. Purnima, who is now on the faculty of the nursing school at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, has also journeyed to Mysore for this new PINCC initiative, to ensure that we get off to a highly successful start. Several Mysore doctors, and a few nurses, will be joining the training in addition to the Prerana medical staff. Dr. Ruth Shaber, a Kaiser Permanente gynecologist and former Director of Kaiser’s Women’s health Program, and her Daughter Maddy, will join us in Mysore on August 2
On 8 August, Rhoda and I and the Shabers will be driven back to Puttaparthi, where we will carry out the third training at the SSSMH on 9-12 August. So far, three of the SSSMH volunteer gynecologist doctors have been certified in LEEP. At least one of these three is coming back for additional experience this time. Dr. Narasimhan, Director of the SSSMH, has already welcomed us most graciously back to India and has also indicated that he would like all of the SSSMH volunteer gynecologists trained by PINCC – so this could be a long term engagement!
Since many of the SSSMH gynecologists are very senior and long-practiced physicians, it is our hope that someday, perhaps a few of these women will be capable of serving as trainer-doctors to work with Dr. Rhoda at future PINCC-India clinic sites.