Maharashtra Prabodhan Seva Mandal (MPSM), a Jesuit NGO, working in the Nashik district of Maharashtra, arose to the needs of the tribal communities who were badly affected by the second wave of COVID-19. Though medical care was never a part of the NGO’s work, the MPSM team started the MCCU to cater to this emerging need.
Initially, the team comprised a nurse, a social worker and few others. As the coverage had to be increased, two more teams had to be put up. This was possible thanks to Jesuit scholastics, Daughters of the Cross (FCs), Religious of the Assumption (RAs), Canossian Daughters of Charity (FdCCs), Carmelites of Charity -Vedruna (CCVs) and a Nashik Diocesan priest who readily volunteered for this novel mission outreach. Thus, we were men and women from six different congregations and lay collaborators working with one charism – service. In a way, this became a model of collaboration across boundaries. The team would visit a village and patients were examined for symptoms of COVID. Medicines and vitamin supplements were given to all the patients. A follow-up visit was done after eight days to ensure that the suspected patients had recovered.
The camps started on 26th April 2021, and continued for three months, reaching out to more than 50 Gram Panchayats in the three talukas of Peth, Surgana and Trimbakeshwar. We had 5768 patients visiting our camps out of which 1254 were suspected cases. This venture was possible thanks to the generosity of many collaborators. The provincials and superiors were audacious enough to let their men and women undertake this risky job. Many benefactors from across the globe contributed towards the expenses of the unit. Thus, MCCU proves to be a perfectly divine inspiration made possible by human cooperation.
Seby Varghese, SJ and Joel Noronha, SJ