World Health Organization (WHO) had declared Snakebite as a “Neglected Tropical disease”. It was neglected till 2022 by Indian Government policy makers. In 2023 Snakebite was included in the list of National Programs in India. We had noted some meetings at New Delhi on Snakebite, organized by NCDC. Representatives from all state governments, clinical experts and some NGOs were invited to these meetings. Canning Juktibadi Sanskritik Sangstha was also recommended by Swasthya Bhavan.
Mrs. Priyanka Kadam, the president of SHE India, one Mumbai based NGO had attended some meetings in the meantime. She had informed the NCDC that, ” The role of local NGOs is extremely crucial to handhold the local administration to reduce the burden of snakebites. These organized groups are familiar with local communities and existing religious and cultural practices and challenges. They also have a well established working relationship with key stakeholders respected by the communities eg village Sarpanch, school teacher, ASHAs, Anganwadi workers, Lokpals and Tehsildars of the blocks and other youth groups who can be effectively used to percolate the right information to the villages to being about behavioral changes in the masses and help being down the death and disability numbers.” Long years ago Canning Juktibadi Sanskritik Sangstha had started its journey in the year 1986 for the cause of Snakebite. I had come to know about the activities of Canning Juktibadi Sanskritik Sangstha in the year 2009.
https://www.facebook.com/jss.canning This is the link of the Juktibadi Sanskritik Sangstha Facebook page for pictures.
In 2010 also Canning Juktibadi Sanskritik Sangstha had conducted a cycle rally for Snakebite awareness in the South 24-Paraganas district. I was feeling proud to be present in the concluding ceremony.
This time in 2023 they had taken a more ambitious project for Snakebite awareness by cycle rallies in four countries. Three teams had visited Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. I could coordinate with some generous people and Governmentt officers for helping these cycle rally. The four members team for Nepal and Bhutan were received by Mr Nitai Halder at Maldah Town railway station. The team for Bhutan including Kabil Jamadar and Robi Shaw started for Gazole in that morning. Team for Nepal including Niranjan Sardar ( 73 yrs) and Moinuddin Mandal stayed at Maldah for that day for some awareness program in Maldah Town.
Kabil and Robi were received by Mr Jayanta Chakraborty at Gazole. They had done awareness program at Gazole. From Gazole they moved towards Itahar. They could reach Itahar in the evening and stayed there in a teachers’ training college. Next day they reached Raigunj, where they were received by Mr Naba Dey, Mr Prasanta Kundu and Mr Saibal Roy. After performing awareness program at Raiganj they moved towards Dalkhola.
At Dalkhola they were received by a generous person Mr Tapas Chakraborty and stayed for the night there. Next day they moved towards Islampur. In Islampur they were received by one reporter member of Lions club of Islampur. They stayed there at night. Next day Kabil and Robi reached Siliguri city in the evening. They were felicitated by the Siliguri St John’s Ambulance. They stayed for the night in Siliguri. Next day they moved towards Malbazar via Odlabari. The BMOH of Odlabari BPHC received them and organised a public awareness program. They reached Mal SD Hospital in the evening. The Super of Mal SD Hospital, Dr Priyanku Jana arranged their night stay at Malbazar. They had performed a good awareness program at Mal S D Hospital in the next morning. Then they moved towards Madarihat.
At Madarihat they were received by the members of PRISM organization. They stayed at night at their Uttaran campus. From there they started for Jaygaon in the next morning. At Jaygaon, the border town of India and Bhutan the team was received by Mr Jayanta Das, they stayed there at night. Kabil and Robi were scheduled to travel in Bhutan by their bicycles, but the plan failed as bicycle is not allowed in Bhutan. They had to limit their awareness work by foot, in Funtsoelling town of Bhutan.
Around this time, we came to know from the Nepal team that, they were bound to return from Nepal due to high cost of living there. So Mr Dilip Som and myself decided to post an appeal for donation. Dilip Babu sent me bank details and UPI for fund collection. I had posted the appeal in three big WhatsApp groups. Some people had sent their contribution, and few of them had informed me also. So far we had gathered the names of almost all of them. I am just writing their names: Jayanta Chakraborty and Jayanta Mondal, Partha Pratim Das, Subhendu Bag, Md Jasimuddin, Purushottam Sah, Vishal Santra, Lily Dey Sarkar Gun, Bidyut Krishna Goswami, Bhaskar Ganguly, Subhasish Chirakalyan Patra, Rahul Mukherjee, Debasish Bhattacharya, Arindam Paul, Robin Mondal, Bebasish, Aniruddha Dey, Mr Indranil, Surai Soren, Ajoy Biswas, Asim Kundu, Purabi Modok, Subhendu Kanjilal, Manab Maity, Tapas Bhattacharya, Dhriti Majumdar and Mr Debojyoti. Names of few donors could not be retrieved from UPI.
Mr Jayanta Das of APD took care of Robi and Kabil. Mr Das travelled along with them in different places of Assam and Alipurduar district. They had performed innumerable awareness programs till the evening of 7th Nov. Stayed at Alipurduar town on the night of 7th Nov for their return train on the 8th afternoon.
Nepal team returned to Siliguri about six days before their scheduled program in Nepal. Incidentally they met one junior doctor of North Bengal Medical College, Dr Ritwik Biswas. Ritwik arranged their night stay in Siliguri. On the next day they met Mr Sanjoy Banerjee of Siliguri St. Johns Ambulance. They were also felicitated at St. Johns. They started for Jalpaiguri district in the next morning, as they had four extra days in their hand. Mr Manasbandhu Majumdar received them at Jalpaiguri and arranged several awareness programs. They were also felicitated at Jalpaiguri by one Ayurvedic product company. They travelled to Moynaguri where they were received by Nandubabu of PPS organization. The Nepal team had performed several awareness programs in Moynaguri and Dhupguri. These program were arranged by Nondubabu, Manasbandhubabu, BMOHs of Moynaguri and Dhupguri. From Dhupguri they travelled to Jalpaiguri Medical College on 7th November, there they had performed awareness program organized by the MSVP of Jalpaiguri Medical College. In the afternoon of 7th November the Nepal team reached Siliguri where their night stay was arranged by Mr Sanjoy Banerjee. They had completed their awareness schedule and were ready to travel back by train from NJP station on 8th November afternoon. Though the CMOH of Coochbehar district agreed to receive the Nepal team, they could not go to Coochbehar district.
The Bangladesh team comprised of Tushar Dhali and Subhendu Ganguli entered Bangladesh through Petrapole border. They reached Khulna District town where they were received by one local person. They had performed awareness program at Khulna Medical College arranged by Dr Pritish Poddar, Associate Professor of Khulna Medical College.
Their travel in Bangladesh was not smooth as there was a political turmoil in the whole country. Yet they had travelled through the remote villages of Bangladesh in Khulna, Jessore and Bagerhat districts, for more than one week. They had performed more than 15 awareness programs there. They had returned from Bangladesh in 6th November evening. They had performed several awareness program in North 24-Paraganas district till 8th November 2023.
All these six heroes had returned in healthy physical conditions. They were given a ceremonial reception at Canning on 9th Nov. afternoon. I was feeling emotional to be present in this reception ceremony also.