What are the items you take along with you when you pandal hop? Apart from your car keys, deo, comb and lip gloss, pack in as many medicine strips as you can in your festive tote this Durga Puja.
City-based NGO Cause for Change has decided to place dropboxes for medicines in front of as many as 25 Durga Puja pandals in Jamshedpur, most of which will be in Telco.
So, if you have strips in which many tablets are unused but well within their expiry date, feel free to bring them along for donation. Cause for Change will later sort out the contents of the dropboxes and give the medicines to charitable hospitals either on NH-33 or in Calcutta-Howrah and distribute them through health camps.
“The idea is to collect free medicines and donate them to charitable hospitals that hand out free medicines to people who can’t afford them. So many times, we buy strips of medicine for common ailments like flu. Once we recover, unused tablets only inch towards expiry date and then are thrown away. We are offering people a chance to donate what they don’t use to give relief to others,” said social worker Mrityunjay Bhattacharjee, a partner of Cause for Change who has enrolled himself in the six-month XLRI entrepreneurship course.
Bhattacharjee added they had taken the drive last Puja, which evinced “good response”.
“I and my NGO partner Joydip Paul had tied up with a New Delhi-based organisation called Goonj, which sends medicines to charitable hospitals in Calcutta and Howrah. This year, we are planning a post-Puja health camp and mulling options in Jharkhand as well as,” he said, referring to hospitals for the needy along NH-33.
He added that the used medicine collection campaign had caught on in the steel city.
“We have a door-to-door collective drive that volunteers associated with our cause undertake round the year in various colonies. A few city schools, including AIWC Academy of Excellence in Baridih, keep our dropboxes round the year for collections. Moreover, the Joy of Giving Week that starts from October 2 is a great time for medicine collection. And of course, the response to our dropboxes in last year’s Durga Puja buoyed us this year as well,” said Bhattacharjee.
So, what has the haul been like this year?
“We have already collected 14 cartons of medicines. And we are expecting numbers to go north during Durga Puja as the festival is the best time to share. Our dropboxes will be kept where people gather in large numbers,” the social worker said.
For people at Cause for Change, the festive drive is a celebration for many reasons.
“It’s heartening to see affluent people sparing a thought for the needy and ailing. Groups of trendy youngsters, families decked up in their Durga Puja finery, couples out having a good time — they stop by at our dropboxes and donate medicines,” he smiled.
He added last year they received encouragement from then civil surgeon Vibha Sharan.
“She helped us with a pharmacist who segregated medicines. This year, we are lucky. I have a couple of friends in my XLRI course who are qualified pharmacists and can do the needful,” he said.
He offered some basic tips to aspiring medicine donors. “Just check the expiry date on the strip. We generally reject opened bottles of syrups too.”