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MultiPurpose Health Centre

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Dr. Mrs. Kamla Tewari, hailing from north India, joined the Auroville Health Centre in January 1977 and was the first to use homeopathy alongside allopathy. Being a qualified medical practitioner herself, with many years of homeopathic practice behind her, she was the ideal person to bring the two together, which she did. In a less institutionalised framework, homeopathy had always been practiced in Auroville from its very first days onwards, but it was Dr. Kamla who brought structure to this practice.
Dr. Kamla describes here her Multi Purpose Health Centre, its history and various locations within Auroville itself. Presently the MPHC is settled in Arka:

Dr. Kamla in the Multipurpose Health Centre, Certitude, 1979

The seventies

Dr. Kamla started the Multi Purpose Health Centre after she had begun working in the Auroville Health Centre in '77. At the time, she and her husband Krishna were still living in Pondicherry, and commuting daily in their own vehicle to Auroville.
Kamla started working at the Health Centre at the request of two Aurovilians -Shyama and Jocelyn- specifically for homeopathy. The late Dr. Sen was still in charge of the Health Centre at the time, but no medical help was available to Aurovilians living in the proposed city limits of Auroville north of Kuilapalayam village, especially those living in the Green Belt area, which had poor approach roads. So Kamla would go around in her own vehicle, a sturdy Jonga (ideal for the almost non-existent roads/tracks in some of the Green Belt areas), once a week, and attend to people who needed medical attention in the remote and isolated settlements. She also worked at the old hutted Matrimandir office premises, seeing not only Aurovilians and Auroville workers but also those who came from nearby villages.

Help from USA

After some time, Seyril (an early Aurovilian) on one of her visits to Auroville from the USA contacted Kamla and said that an American lady, the late Eleanor Lovitt, who was doing a Medical Assistant's course in the US, was keen to join her in her honorary village health work. Of course the idea was welcomed, and in late 1978 Kamla received a letter from Eleanor to say that she had completed the course and, although 65 years of age, would like to come to Auroville. Kamla was impressed deeply by the fact of a 65-year-old lady coming out to an entirely new environment in India to work, and welcomed her offer. Eleanor arrived in early 1979 and joined Kamla shortly after her arrival.

Help from Auroville

Another early Aurovilian, Yusuf (from India), who stayed in Certitude in his own house, was kind enough to offer a room to be used as a clinic, and this was the time when the Multi-Purpose Health Centre was registered, with Dr. Kamla and Eleanor as the two Executives. Eleanor supplied monetary help for the setting up of the Centre in 1979. Both she and Kamla would also buy the homeopathic medicines and prescribe them to all who came, free of charge.

To the Weather Station

The Centre operated from Yusuf's house for almost 10 years. Later when Yusuf fell ill and needed another room, the Centre was shifted to the Weather Station in Certitude, next to the Eco House. Mainly homeopathic medicines were prescribed, with Dressings and first aid being offered twice a week. In 1983, Guita (from France) also joined the Centre, and she would accompany Dr. Kamla for work not only at the Auroville Health Centre at Aspiration but also at Certitude too, and to Isaiambalam in Kottakarai once a week, using Kamla's Jonga.

Trained helpers

Sundari (from Tamil Nadu), who worked as midwife in the Auroville Health Centre, was trained by Dr. Kamla to prepare and prescribe homeopathic medicines to patients, and began to accompany Dr. Kamla to Kottakarai. Eleanor used to go away to the USA every summer from April/May to August/September because she could not bear the heat. During her absence, Sundari and Guita would help Kamla, and since a year and a half Rajeshwari has joined to help Dr. Beena.

Settling in Bharat Nivas

For the International Youth Year hosted by Auroville for the Indian Government on behalf of the United Nations in 1985, held at Bharat Nivas, a room was improvised there in one of the incomplete State pavilions to give first aid and emergency therapy if needed to the more than one hundred delegates who attended from about 50 countries around the world.
Eventually, in 1987, the Centre was moved from the Weather Station in Certitude to Bharat Nivas, to the room, where it continues to function from to this day.

Recently, this service has received a boost with a new look and a fresh addition of services with the help of donations such as availability of oxygen for acute care, infra-red and specialised massage with Kumar in the afternoons.

 

Dr. Beena in the Multipurpose Health Centre, Bharat Nivas,  2001

Management & Timings 

Bharat Nivas' MPHC is presently open five mornings a week, during which Dr. Kamla offers her consultation on Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00 a.m. till 12:00 p.m. assisted by Aurovilians, and Dr. Beena offers primary medical care (Allopathic) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. till 1 p.m. assisted by a Registered Nurse. 

Dr. Beena is a qualified allopathic medical practitioner. She graduated from South Gujarat University at Surat in 1984 and has a clinical experience of more than 10 years. She also has post-graduate training in Pediatrics and a Masters in Health Care Management from U.S.A.

Along with Dr. Kamla, she is managing the Auroville Health Services to prepare for the next stage of health development in Auroville. 

 

 

        

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