Several months after graduating college with a bachelors degree in Political Science I decided to take a chance and take up a one year contract with a renown Indian Tuberculosis NGO called Operation ASHA. I was so excited, finally I had an opportunity to work and travel abroad! In March, I made the 17 hour journey to Delhi via Brussels. Once I landing at the New Delhi airport I was hit with the smell and smog of urban Delhi that seemed to have seeped into the plane. I was also hit with the dramatic change in temperature! It felt as if I fast-forwarded into Summer.
The next day I visited Operation ASHA’s headquarters it South Delhi not really sure what to expect because of my lack of experience in working in an office. When I arrived I felt a little overwhelmed by all that was going on around me and was a little worried I would not be able to fit in. Fortunately, everyone at the office were very supportive of me and made me feel very welcomed.
Several days later I was given a tour of three clinics which were located in the more poverty stricken areas of the city. It was quite shocking at first going through these neighborhoods and witnessing the poverty and despair around me. What shocked me the most was the amount of pollution that was around me such as open dumping grounds, rats and raw sewage flowing down the sidewalks all where children were playing.
The visits to the clinics were extremely useful when it came to adapting into Operation ASHA. It really gave me a true understanding the purpose of Operation ASHA. What I found fascinating during the tour was the fact that not all clinics are in a single building. They are also located in temples, hair salons and other such places that are frequented by members of the surrounding community.
Now it is my second week in Operation ASHA, I have begun the required training that’s involved which consists of the many aspects of Operation ASHA from the field work, e-compliance technology used to monitor patients and governmental relations. The training has greatly increased my awareness of tuberculosis and the methods in which Operation ASHA is combating it in the field. On Monday I will be tested on what I have learned. I’m slightly nervous considering the fact I most of the information provided to me is all new to me. But I am confident I will do well considering how intriguing the information provided to me in the training was.
What I found fascinating is that in providing such a low cost treatment through OpASHA allows the Indian Government to better focus its resources. So beyond the thick clouds of smoke is a glimmer of hope which is Operation ASHA.