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Our Health Guardian

Updated: Dec 7, 2021

Meet Rehab Center Health Coordinator, Chandrakant Shembade, our go-to person for any health-related issues with our children. He is quick to answer quantitative and qualitative queries regarding their health, from height-weight ratio to viral load status or ART regime, he has all up-to-date data with him.

Chandrakant first joined our team as a caretaker in 2010. When appointed as an MSW graduate, he was expecting a much higher position in the organisation. Instead, he discovered a passion for working with children from the first day he was given the charge of 'Snehangan,' the dormitory for our youngest children. Chandrakant built a good rapport with all the kids and helped them find their hidden talents, including cultivating the hobby of singing in Divya and Sakshi; Sakshi was recently runner-up in the state-level 'Secret Superstar' competition!

Our management team noticing Chandrakant's efforts, sent him on a six-month training course on Behavioral and Developmental milestones in children at Umeed Child Development Center. He passed the course with flying colors and was given responsibility for working with children with delayed milestones.

Meanwhile, Florence, a Dutch volunteer specializing in children's psychological and physical issues, visited Snehalaya. She was impressed by the dedication shown by Chandrakant and trained him in various aspects of monitoring and developing solutions for the health of children living in institutions. in 2014, after working in Snehalaya for five years, Chandrakant was recruited as a counselor in the Government AIDS control department in Daund. He soon realized that a 9 to 5 job wasn't for him and that he longed to return to Snehalaya, which he did within the year.

In 2017, Chandrakant was promoted to the position of Health Coordinator, responsible for monitoring health of the children living in Snehalaya. He started working on improving the nutrition and ART treatment and viral load stats of the children living with HIV/AIDS and malnourished children arriving in Snehalaya. As viral load testing was not mandatory and available via government hospitals, we used private labs to help us identify cases that were not responding to the first line of ART and provide more effective medicines which we purchased privately for them. Gradually, this close monitoring by Chandrakant and the team improved the health status of the children. The numbers of children suffering from other opportunistic infections like TB were also reduced and our mortality rates were significantly reduced.

Chandrakant recently completed a decade of service in Snehalaya. We are incredibly grateful for the commitment he has shown to improving the health of all of our children and we truly believe he has helped save lives. He is a regular visitor to all of our local hospitals, often accompanying and staying with our sickest children who are admitted to them. This has made him a favorite among our children and he is equally popular with the management and staff recognised as a passionate social worker.

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