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20 Mar 2019, Edition - 1345, Wednesday

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Health camps for front line forest staff conducted

Covai Post Network

Front line forest staff, responsible for protecting and conserving the wildlife, today underwent medical checkup during a health camp at the Tamil Nadu Forest Academy here.

As part of a partnership between Apollo Hospitals Foundation and WWF-India, and in collaboration with the Tamil Nadu Forest Department, a team of doctors and lab technicians conducted the health camp for about 250 front line staff of Coimbatore Forest Division.

General tests for blood pressure, BMI as well as diabetic profile, lipid profile, complete blood count, and other tests were carried out by the medical team. The samples were analysed on site, reports prepared and followed by consultation with the camp doctors, according to Dr. Samuel Thomas, Apollo Hospitals Foundation, who led the team.

A three-day camp from June 12, was attended by 411 front line staff of Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve and Nilgiris North and South Forest Divisions for screening and various medical tests, he said.

“Coimbatore Forest Division is a high human-wildlife conflict area and the staff face risks every day in the field, especially during elephant driving operations.They need to be in good health to face these challenges,” Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore Circle, Ramasubramanian said.

The Division covers the forest ranges of Madukkarai, Boluvampatti, Sirumugai, Karamadai, Periyanaickenpalayam, Coimbatore and Mettupalayam and around 250 staff from the various ranges attended the camp, he said.

Stating that the staff worked under tough conditions often without easy access to medical facilities and general health care, he said that they risk grievous injury and illness while performing their duties in remote, difficult and often inhospitable areas.

WWF-India has been working closely with State Forest Departments across India to boost the morale of front line staff through training, provision of field equipment and emergency medical assistance.

“The field staff are working round the clock without caring for their health. We are working with Apollo to provide this opportunity for forest staff in various landscapes across the country,” Landscape Coordinator, WWF India, D. Boominathan said.

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