A health clinic ignites a desire for better health in one of India’s most populous cities.
Published on: 01-01-2020
According to media outlets, the June afternoon is the hottest day of the year in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. The annual monsoon rains are late this year, and it shows.
In a central location, just a few blocks away from the shrine where world-renowned Mother Teresa of Calcutta rests from her earthly la- bors, there’s anything but rest. It is a beehive of activity during the last day of a health clinic at the Kolkata Seventh-day Adventist School on Park Street. People come and go with anxious and hopeful looks as they arrive; thankful and relieved faces as they leave.
Inside, past the reception where every person checks in and walks into the central covered courtyard, people of all ages line up in every corner, patiently waiting for a free medical/dental consultation. Every school administrative office and classroom now doubles as a physician’s office. Every age group is taken care of as signs guide eager residents to various medical specialties.
Bonded by a common need, differences fade away, organizers said. “Hindus, Muslims, Christians—they all come in search of better health. All of them share a common goal: to feel better.”
A NEW LEASE ON LIFE
As evening approaches, the sun disappears behind the upscale stores and banyan trees lining Park Street. The motionless air, however, seems almost as sticky and stifling as ever. Only the air-conditioned Seventh-day Adventist church by the school brings some relief to health clinic volunteers, church leaders, and visitors as they flock to the sanctuary for a special moment.
Among them a group stands out from the rest. Donning black sunglasses, they sit in the pews, motionless and in complete silence. They are a sizable part of the 260 neighbors who went through cataract surgery in a few days. Now they wait for their eyes to get used to brighter light.
Adventist Church president Ted Wilson has been invited to address the crowd. After some general greetings, he zeroes in on that prominent group of visitors.
“Today you are getting a new lease on life, a new beginning ,” Wilson tells them. “I will be praying for you so you can start taking care of your physical and spiritual life as well.”
IN SEARCH OF BETTER HEALTH
“A comprehensive health approach is a key to reach people’s hearts,” says Jacob Prabhakar, leader of the Eyes for India supporting ministry. “We praise God for this initiative, which has united volunteers from every hospital for a common goal.”
Prabhakar, an Adventist, is a world-renowned eye surgeon who conducts screening eye clinics in rural communities across India and beyond. He thinks the last initiatives are signs of a trend that is just starting. “This is just the beginning of what we can do on behalf of the people. We should repeat this process in many Indian cities,” he suggests hopefully.
“This model can be certainly replicated,” local church leaders agree. They see it as a fire that has nothing to do with the scorching weather. It is a warm and bright fire, they believe, that no monsoon rain will ever quench.
“God blesses every effort we do for Him, even when the task is enormous,” Wilson tells the attentive crowd filling the sanctuary. “It is something that impresses people and makes them realize God has something bigger in store.”