Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, Dehradun sits snugly between two mighty rivers, the Ganga and Yamuna surrounded by pine groves. Apart from being a major tourist hub, the city also hosts top organizations and schools.
Raphael’s campus is a large one. It houses the School for Intellectually Disabled, The Tuberculosis Hospital and Vocational Training Centre along with an administration building, a huge kitchen and hostels for the severely disabled and destitute.
The School for Intellectually Disabled initially provided only residential care, but soon expanded to provide daycare as well. Children receive training in living skills, life skills, basic education skills like counting etc. In 2000, the additional care unit they ran out of the Doon School campus also was moved to the main Raphael campus. A multi-disciplinary team consisting of physiotherapists, counselors etc. runs both the residential facility and day centre. Any parent wanting their child to be admitted either in day centre or the hostel would bring their child for an assessment. Financial limitations caused them to turn away severely disabled children. The assessment also reviewed the child’s ability to benefit from the infrastructure, teaching etc. Parents were consulted on their aspirations for their child. The chairman reviews each case to provide approval of their admission to the centre. Once approved, the children go through regular classes and vocational classes teaching gardening and cooking.
In Uttarakhand, the BCG vaccination was not being administered which resulted in TB. In 1966, they attacked TB with a three-prong strategy, the Hospital, OPD, and the Mobile Team. The Mobile Team went to different parts of Dehradun district and established 16 centres where the infected received prompt diagnosis and care. Their sputum was collected and tested. Those who were tested positive were put on treatment right away. The doctor continued to monitor these individuals for the next six months and tracked their progress. If the patients discontinued their prescribed medications, they were transported to the centre and kept under continuous observation.
What began in a tent in 1955 has expanded beyond imagination. Leprosy has been eradicated completely in the Uttarakhand and TB rates have come down by 85%. Raphael has led from the front in this battle and continues to be a beacon of hope for the people of Uttarkhand.