‘Say No to Superstition’ – Students at the Health Awareness Camp in Lazu
21st January,2014, Lazu, Miao (Arunachal Pradesh): At the backdrop of the death of a Class IV boy due to the negligence of his parents, the staff and students of St. Xavier’s School, Lazu, Arunachal Pradesh in collaboration with Seva Kendra Miao organized a One-Day Medical Awareness Programme for the people of this area on 17th January 2014 at the school premise.
Rev. Fr. Joy MOC, the principal of the School was very upset and angry at the fact that despite his earnest request to the parents of the boy, who had to be operated for appendicitis, to take him to the hospital before the school closed for Christmas holidays, his parents did not take him to the hospital instead they believed in a magical cure that did not take place. An innocent life lost. “The boy was diagnosed with appendicitis during a medical camp we had in the school and the doctors suggested for immediate operation. And when the parents came to take him home for Christmas holidays, I earnestly requested them to take him for immediate operation. But my request fell on deaf years and the result is we lost one of our bright students”, expressed Fr. Joy MOC, the Principal with deep anguish. “We do not want to have a repeat of such incident in the future and so we requested Seva Kendra to ogranize a medical awareness programme”, he added.
The students of the school took out a rally from the school ground to the Lazu town and back to the school. Nearly about 500 people other than students participated in the rally. The children, holding banners and placards with slogans, shouted “Say no to Blind Faith”, “Say no to superstitions”, “Health is our Right”, “Go to Doctor when you are sick”, and “Right Medicine at the Right Time” in Hindi, English and Ollo, the local Dialect.
The Seva Kendra team led by Rev. Sr. Ancy CCV, the Health coordinator of the Diocese of Miao, together with Srs. Riny SH, the Seva Kendra Director, Sr. Calista CCV conducted talks on various topics to make people to respond to the medical needs in time to avoid such tragic events in the future. Sr. Ancy, while taking to the big number of people gathered for the occasion, stressed the importance of timely treatment and prayer for the cure of body and soul. She also highlighted the importance of immunization for children to prevent major sickness. Sr. Calista too presented the topic of personal cleanliness through flash cards and slides.
The children also presented a skit on the story of the boy who died because of negligence. The Officer Incharge of Assam Rifles, who was present for the occasion, expressing his grief at the death of the innocent boy, thanked the school management and Seva Kendra for the initiative and also informed the people about the free various medicines available with them for people, who can approach them any time for the same. Dr. Mathe from Khonsa, the nearest town with a hospital (40 Kms), spoke to the people about sickness like Tuberculosis, Malaria and Jaundice and their treatments.
The programme concluded with the pledge by the people that “we will take care of life of ours as well as others by taking the sick to the Doctor in right time and get treatment and will say no to superstitions.”
The people thanked Fr. Joy and the Seva Kendra Team from the Diocese of Miao for creating awareness among them. But will it end superstition and death due to negligence? Only time will tell.