Former Fellow, PK Vedanthan, MD, created the International Asthma Services (IAS) organization in the late 1980s to address the worldwide problem of asthma in areas including India, Africa, Mauritius, Fiji, South America and the Philippines. The IAS is a nonprofit organization serving disadvantaged populations through educating patients and providers; offering free medical care; and giving physicians and hospitals materials, technology and training.
Free Asthma Camp for Patients
The impetus for a free asthma camp came to Dr. Vedanthan during a trip to his native India. He observed that patients were undertreated, uneducated about asthma and allergies, and did not have organized access to care. The first camp advertisement brought 400 patients over three days. Camp patients are treated, educated and provided with follow-up care by volunteer physicians. During the last 20 years, Dr. Vedanthan has provided free personal healthcare to approximately 30,000 patients during nearly 180 asthma awareness camps, conducted in more than 50 locations on four continents. "We need more volunteer physicians, nurses and respiratory therapists to join in this incredible journey around the globe educating the needy. It is truly satisfying at the end of the day," appeals Dr. Vedanthan.
International Asthma Service also educates physicians about these conditions in hopes of stopping the epidemic. In India alone- the asthma population is 100 million-there are approximately 300 physicians, self-trained, to treat asthma and allergies. "That's one clinician per 10,000 patients. Just a drop in the ocean of asthma patients," explains Vedanthan. IAS partnered with Christian Medical College, a premier medical institution in India to offer a Diploma in Allergy and Asthma. It's a year-long comprehensive course for qualified physicians. The second class of 20 post graduate MDs will graduate this summer. Vedanthan, who is the co-director of the diploma course, travels between India and USA every three months.