Saturday, July 19, 2014

Delhi Week Three

I’m finally getting a hang of Delhi. Yesterday, I went to the Monday market in the Basti and bought some anklets and henna for a fair price – today, I’m getting my kurta pajama back from the tailor. I also visited Chandni Chowk with some German volunteers at Hope and my new roommate Nina. Chandni Chowk, a huge market in Old Delhi, is the perfect example of Indian overpopulation. The temperature reached 41 degrees Celsius (108 degrees Fahrenheit), and it this was even further heightened by the presence of people at every conceivable space of the market.

One of the things I noticed because of this experience is how much warmer the temperature is in more congested places. In the Basti for example, the temperature was still hot even after the rain, but everywhere else it was cooler. On a public health note, this can be very dangerous for community members because the congestion plus the warmth presents the perfect environment for diseases such as tuberculosis to spread. In addition, the malnutrition that some people in the Basti my face, as well as any issues with smoking, may cause potential carriers to easily contract the disease.

The largest issues in the Basti seem to me to involve dirty conditions in the streets, the weather, and chewing tobacco. As in many developing areas, children tend to contract intestinal worms from playing in the dirt. As a result, they must be “dewormed” twice a year by the clinic. The weather tends to cause general weakness, especially in women. This “weakness” may also be heightened by the fact that most everyone in the Basti is fasting for Ramadan. Chewing tobacco is a large problem for men, not only in the Basti but everywhere in India, as chewing tobacco is the preferred form of nicotine for Indians. Because many men in the Basti are not proactive about their dental hygiene, many suffer from diseased-looking mouths and remain at a high risk for oral cancer.

According to my research, respiratory tract infections, gestational tract issues, and diabetes tend to be the most common reasons why patients enter the clinic. At the same time, I discovered that if these patients had gone to the general hospital, they would have to wait at least 2 hours and still may not have gotten an appointment, due to the large crowds that enter the hospital.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting! It seems like you're making serious strides in your research. Keep it up!!