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World’s largest human gathering becomes platform for innovative healthcare campaigns

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MUMBAI: India is playing host to people from over 100 countries at Divya Kumbh 2019 at Prayagraj where over 15 crore people are visiting to take a dip in the holy waters of sangam. The religious and spiritual significance of this platform – which is said to be world’s largest human gathering – is no secret. But considering the vast and wide spread reach of Kumbh mela, many organisations have made it the launch pad for their initiatives. This year, among many other things, Kumbh will also be remembered for the unique health awareness and healthcare initiatives that it became the platform for. Such huge gatherings are different to find and thus, Kumbh becomes an ideal platform to launch and expand programs that can have a positive impact on society as a whole.

One such initiative was that of India Medtronic. Medtronic launched Chiranjeev Hriday at Divya Kumbh 2019 – a campaign designed to spread awareness around Sudden Cardiac Arrest and train 10,000+ people in the Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) technique. With close to 8 lakh people dying from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), the need for CPR trained – the only technique which can save a person suffering from SCA outside a hospital – personnel is pressing. Despite the large number of casualities related to SCA, 98% of Indians do not know how to perform CPR. Medtronic’s campaign targets to train first responders and the citizens at large in CPR, thus, enabling them to save lives. Sharing views on the company’s initiative, Mr. Madan Krishnan, Vice President and Managing Director, Medtronic Indian Subcontinent said, “Kumbh presents itself as a platform to reach lakhs of people and make them aware about SCA and role of CPR. We are employing unique activities like street plays, activation on boats that take pilgrims to sangam, partnership with leading akhadas like Juna Akhada, a CPR express to spread awareness through innovative messaging in the Kumbh Mela region, hoardings, radio jingles etc. – all with the objective of making more and more people aware about SCA and training them to save lives.” Till date, close to 3,000 people have received training for CPR at Divya Kumbh 2019.

Another noteworthy initiative undertaken at Divya Kumbh 2019 is Netra Kumbh. With support of partners like Saksham, Antodaya Health Mission, Sir Ganga Ram Kolmate Hospital Delhi, National Medicos Organisation, and Rajendra Singh Smriti Nevanyas, Netra Kumbh is providing free eye check-up to over 5000 people visiting Kumbh mela everyday - ~85 % of whom receive free spectacles. 400 doctors and thousands of volunteers are engaged in this initiative. Dr. Rashmi Awasthy, Member of Sanchalak Samiti of Netra Kumbh said, “Around 11 million people live in a state of avoidable blindness in India and most of these have not even visited an eye specialist in their life. Netra Kumbh is assessing around 5000 people every day and has the distinction of being the longest eye care program in the world, which will run throughout the length of the Prayagraj Kumbh. This is Netra Kumbh’s first year. With the response received from visiting pilgrims and support of our partners and well wishes, we wish to make it a regular affair at Kumbh Melas.”

The UP Health Department has also initiated exemplary work at Kumbh Mela this year. Dr. A K Paliwal, Additional Director of Health & Family Welfare Department, Prayagraj Division said,” UP Health Department has prepared for sanitation, vector borne diseases, solid waste management and disaster management along with general health services at Kumbh 2019. We have also set up a 100 bedded Central Hospital in the mela premises which has X-Ray, ultrasound, pathology services along with specialist doctors available 24 hours. Along with this central hospital, there are 11 circle hospital to provide healthcare facilities in all sectors of the Kumbh Mela.”

With this convergence of religion and spirituality with awareness around key healthcare issues, Divya Kumbh 2019 has truly become a place to influence lives of people for good.

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