By: Alyssa Dilly
Though Mr. Yosef Pandit, Mobile Health Team coordinator and Village Health Worker trainer at CRHP, has recently celebrated his retirement, he continues to be an integral member of the Jamkhed community and CRHP staff. In this interview, Mr. Pandit reflects on his time at CRHP.
1. How did you begin working at CRHP?
I started working at CRHP in September of 1978. Before that, I was at Richardson Leprosy Hospital in Miraj, training as a paramedic.
At this time, my sister, Meena, was working at CRHP as a nurse. I came to visit her during my summer vacation, and stayed with her for fifteen days. One day, I was walking around campus and Dr. Raj Arole was standing in front of the [old] hospital. He called to me and asked me to introduce myself. I told him I was Meena’s brother, and that I was seeking admission to college. He asked me what the use of a college education would be, and I kept quiet, because I couldn’t answer the question myself. He then offered that I work at CRHP, and offered to send me to get additional training.
I went to Madhya Pradesh to be trained as a general nursing assistant (GNA), and after I completed this training, joined CRHP.
2. What were your initial responsibilities? How did you end up working with the Mobile Health Team?
I first worked in the record room. I was very busy with keeping records – how many pregnant women, how many under-5 children, how many TB/leprosy patients – and I enjoyed it. After two or three months, Dr. Arole asked me how I liked my job and if I wanted to change what I was doing. I told him I was very happy with my work, and that I thought I might like to join the Mobile Health Team (MHT). He said I could join as a paramedic.
3. What about the Mobile Health Team interested you?
I thought I’d like to join the MHT because I liked that they went to the village everyday. At that time, in 1978, there were 3 different teams that would go to 3 villages along the same route. In the morning, teams would leave for the villages around 6:30am, and we would provide curative services and talk with the villages about health education, like washing hands and keeping a clean home environment. Teams also went to villages in the evenings, to work with Women’s Group and Farmers’ Club members after they had returned home from working. We worked long days; often we would eat dinner after 9:30pm.
4. What is your favorite part about your work?
When I first started, I really enjoyed visiting with leprosy patients and providing medicines. Now, we have hardly any leprosy patients in our villages. I like to visit different people’s houses, sit with them, take tea with them. I have much interest in learning and listening to the people.
5. You recently retired, however you are still working?
I retired because of my age – the government requires that people retire at 58 years old – but I am still very much involved with the MHT, staff, and daily work.
6. What has kept you at CRHP?
Teamwork. Everyone treats each other like family. No one says, “I am an expert, you are not”. Everyone has different types of knowledge, and anyone can learn and help do things. I have learned this from CRHP. Everything I am now, I have learned from CRHP, from the people, from Raj Arole, and from my other workers.
7. Where do you find inspiration?
I have had three families in my life: first, my mother and father, and they gave me a very good education growing up; second, a poor family of a political leader and his wife with whom I stayed during my education in Taluka Pathardi; and finally, Drs. Raj and Mabelle, who lived very simply but thought very beautifully. These three families inspire me, and they are why I work for the poor.