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Neurology on Wheels: How this Doctor is taking healthcare to remote parts of AP

Healthcare remains out of reach for many poor and marginalised communities in India. Most of the time, proper healthcare services do not reach the remotest areas of the country. But many initiatives by states and the Centre, including Ayushman Bharat and Mohalla Clinic, are bringing about change in this direction. Individuals and organisations are also doing their bit for this cause. 
 
Bindu Menon, a neurologist, is taking healthcare services to remote areas of Andhra Pradesh through her foundation, Neurology on Wheels. Bindu travels through these areas in her medical van, which is capable of providing free neurological treatment, and also conducts awareness programmes.
 
Since 2015, Bindu has covered 23 villages and provided over 100 people with free treatment. The usual process of identifying a village is random; the team makes a prior visit and conducts a health awareness session among locals about the camp. 
 
During this process, topics like stroke risk factors, recognition of symptoms, and the use of medicines required for the treatment are discussed. After the awareness session, the foundation provides free screening and detection of hypertension, diabetes, and stroke. It also provides medicines for treatment.
 
Bindu said: “Awareness about stroke and epilepsy is very poor in villages. There is still a trend of opting for native medicine when it comes to treatment. Prevention of stroke is the most effective means for reducing the burden of this issue. During camps, patients with stroke and epilepsy are also counselled.”
 
She added, “One of the hurdles faced further by a patient includes what he should do after the medicines get over. We try to counsel patients about this. Undetected diseases and poor awareness about the risk of other major diseases was something we often observed during our camps. The situation is changing slowly, but not at the pace at which it should be.” 
 
Bindu has worked as a neurologist in some hospitals in Andhra. She is also credited with setting up the Neurology Department at the Tirupati Medical College in 2008. Bindu has also come up with a mobile application. She said, “We also have an app called Epilepsy Help, where patients can get help in managing the problem, from timely alerts to take their medicines to help for checkups.” 

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