A Personal Note from Sheel J. Saxena
Mauritius. It is a word that held great mystery during my childhood in suburban Boston. The word was never mentioned by friends, neighbours, or teachers. When I used “Mauritius” in a sentence, they thought I had made the word up. But I had one uncle from Mumbai, who often told me of this Mauritius, incessantly describing the beauty of her land and of her people. He said it would be a great regret of his and mine if I was to never be experience this destination for myself.
In 2000, during my fourth year of medical school, I was able to do a medical rotation for four weeks at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam National hospital. Arrangements were facilitated by said uncle, Dr Dev Saksena, who himself had performed numerous cardiac surgeries at this same hospital for the previous fifteen years. When I touched down at Plaisance, and rode to my lodging in Pamplemousses, I instantly saw that the words of Dr Saksena were not overstated. The water was a of a magical blue that I had never seen before. The sun was bright but not blinding. And the people – the people were what was most unforgettable – so warm, so kind, and so familiar. Many of them of course, looked like a reflection of me.
So it was with great shock, on my first day of rounding on the wards, to see so many of these kindred folks, admitted to the hospital with various complications of CNCD (related preventable conditions of type II diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular diseases). The volume of Mauritians on dialysis was staggering and to realize that the majority of their kidney disease was attributable to preventable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes was astonishing. I often wondered the toll this was taking on the patients and their families, not only from an emotional perspective but also from a financial one. And from a population standpoint, how much more could Mauritius accomplish if these diseases were not so prevalent in her citizens.
I am currently a physician at a community health center in Boston. My goals here not only include finding the road to better health for each of my patients but to also find ways to limit the prevalence of disease within the community. These modalities often include outreach, awareness, and access. I hope to use the experience I’ve obtained through my practice, to help the 5-2035 team combat the deleterious effects that CNCD has on a patient, his family, and his country.