Healing Hands Foundation has its roots within Healing Hands Clinic, state-of-the-art Proctology clinics founded by Dr Ashwin Porwal, popular as one of India’s top Proctologists. When the clinic was set up in 2009, it was a one-of-a-kind concept in healthcare. Proctology had never been a dedicated specialty in the medical field; hence the idea of Proctology clinics was unheard of. Quite expectedly, Healing Hands Clinic flourished at a brisk pace. People now had an appropriate place to seek treatment for their anorectal issues. For ages, conditions like piles, fissure, fistula, pilonidal sinus etc. have been either a subject of ignorance or the undertaking of quacks. Healing Hands Clinic opened up a channel that could enable people to comfortably speak up about issues related to the rectum and anal canal.
Within couple of years of inception of the clinic, Dr Porwal realized that incidence of anorectal diseases was much higher than apparent. Ignorance, shame, awkwardness, superstitious beliefs work collectively to hinder people from seeking medical help. A lot of the cases encountered in Pune city were chronic cases, which meant that the patient had lived with the condition for months to years. Considering that most anorectal diseases are easily treatable, it came as an eye opener to the ignorance people were living in. This led him and his wife, Dr Snehal Porwal, to estimate the gravity of the situation in the rural areas. As a first step to address the issue, they set up an ambulance that travelled from village to village distributing information pamphlets and making announcements to spread information. However, this strategy proved ineffective. They then decided to organize awareness camps where a team of doctor, counsellor and coordinator would travel in the ambulance that now served as a mobile clinic.
For the last 4 years, awareness camps are being organized under the ‘Gram Janjagruti Abhiyan’. During these camps our doctor provides consultation, examination and medicines free of cost to patients. Those who need a surgery are referred to Healing Hands Clinic, Pune to be operated at minimal expenses. This activity has benefitted a large number of patients. Since our team consistently has a female doctor/counselor, it has allowed hundreds of women to open up about their issues. Having listened to their stories of suffering in silence is when we realized the amount of difference we were making in people’s lives. Just like the actual problem, the benefits too aren’t conspicuous.
Over the last couple of years, we have constantly battled the inherent shame attached to this topic. People still find it uncomfortable to talk about blood in stools or mass coming out of the anus. Our attempt is to make them look at this topic objectively as just another part of the body and health. We all know the importance of a good bowel movement. For a lot of us it’s the herald of a buoyant day ahead. Why shouldn’t a farmer who has to toil all day in his farm feel invigorated while working? Don’t women from villages have a right to take care of their health? Shouldn’t physical health and mental well-being be universal rather than a privilege for the city-dwellers?
To extend unbiased medical and surgical services to every individual, irrespective of socioeconomic status.
HOLD THE VISION; TRUST THE PROCESS We envision a nation where health is an asset rather than a constraint. Increasing awareness can be utilised as an efficient strategy to decrease the disease burden in society.
Focus on anorectal health issues that are considered a taboo Reduce the biases towards women’s health Encourage people to shed shame and seek help Use education as an effective tool to reduce ignorance Make advanced scientific treatment available to all