Guts, Grit and Glory: K. Subhash

How did it all start, where we are at the moment and where we're headed

Its been fascinating to see how far things can go and what effect doing something with all you’ve got can have in terms of getting things firmly into an actionable space.

A tireless crusader for Nalgonda; Subhash lost his father to fluorosis; the pain was enormous and it was a tragedy that spurred him so much that he began interacting with people in his community and started informing and educating them on fluorosis so that what had happened with him did not happen to others.

The educating and sensitizing of communities slowly started fuelling a movement among people.

A unique demonstration of how to mobilize people in efforts was a post-card campaign where Subhash went around different parts of Nalgonda collecting appeals from people everywhere on these postcards; Once a significant number of post cards with these appeals on them were accumuated they were then sent to the President of India. There was also a visit by him with a group of affected people to Delhi where he demonstrated at Jantar Mantar.

What followed was a trail of pathbreaking events.

The campaign swayed a team of Members of legislative assembly to contemplate and to think. The speaker of the Andhra assembly went along with a team of MLA’s to affected areas and had a first hand account of the situation for themselves.

After consulting with people affected and based on what they saw themselves they decided to created a mechanism for monitoring the situation of fluorosis regularly across 17 line departments and hence was born the District Fluoride Monitoring Centre.

Bigger players came in; bigger alliances started being built. UNDP in Nalgonda joined the government efforts to work on this as well.

Srinivas Chekuri; a UNICEF consultant was given charge of evolving the DFMC. He got in touch with the Fluoride Network to find ways of making the DFMC more viable as an institution and to make it more efficient in the work it was doing.The fluoride network got technically involved in building capacity within DFMC.

A series of meetings and preparatory workshops have taken place since then and the network has also gone ahead and started a broader Nalgonda collaborative in the District to work on Fluorosis.

There are talks right now of replicating the model of DFMC elsewhere as well: fo example Prakasham District in Andhra Pradesh have requested for a similar such institution there.

What one man started with immense passion some time back is finally starting to take a definitive shape with the Fluoride Network’s support and things are actually moving! it’s been a long fight but the wait has been worth it!

More such sparks needed, more such passion to take centerstage more such person’s to take lead on the issue, is anyone game?

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