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When a doctor is committed, perspective of public towards health changes
Meet Dr Maddela Venkata Sateesh Babu, a government doctor in the Prakasam district, who transformed the lives of the public in a remote village with an idea, and the results are persistent even after more than 15 years
The state and central governments are spending crores of rupees on education programs to create awareness among the public, on diseases and their causes for them. Yet, the perspective of the public is hard to change, and the government makes consistent efforts to send the message to the last person.
Meet Dr Maddela Venkata Sateesh Babu, a government doctor in the Prakasam district, who transformed the lives of the public in a remote village with an idea, and the results are persistent even after more than 15 years. It all started in 2006 when Dr Sateesh Babu was working as the medical officer in the primary health centre in Mokshagundam in Bestavari Pet mandal, and the people in the village are regularly suffering from Dengue, Malaria, Filaria, Chikungunya and other vector-borne diseases.
Dr Sateesh conducted awareness campaigns in the Mokshagundam village but received reluctant responses from the public. Vexed with the adults, Dr Sateesh gathered the local children and conducted awareness classes on mosquito menace and how to end it. He advised the children to write 'O Doma, repuraa', translated into 'O mosquito, come tomorrow' on the walls of their homes, as the mosquito should not be allowed into the homes, and throw away all water that is stored for more than five days, in the opened utensils or in the coconut shells or waste tires. To create more awareness, he constructed a temple for the mosquito, Domagudi, on the premises of the PHC and made the people and their families pray to the mosquito goddess to not bite them again.
It is more than one and a half decades since the Domagudi was constructed. The children who were trained by Dr Sateesh became adults and are now breadwinners in their homes. But they remember the lesson they learnt and are not allowing their village to become a breeding place for mosquitoes. BurugaEdukondalu, the Mokshagundam postman, said that Dr Sateesh has changed their perspective towards diseases and the reason for them. He said that with the motivation from sarpanch AvulaArunakumari, everyone in the village does their part in keeping their premises and village clean. Dr Sateesh, who is working in Ulavapadu Community Health Centre now, said that he did his duty at Mokshagundam and tried to explain the danger of mosquitoes in his own way. He said that he continued the awareness activities in other places also by taking up campaigns on control of diseases, but now focused on encouraging a greater number of deliveries in the CHC, with incentives and gifts. He said that the government is doing a lot for the public, and he is just felicitating the services to reach them.
Data from District Malaria Office in Ongole, the total number of cases since 2017.