They Are Back on Their Feet

Lakkhi Didi is fifty plus. A frontline worker (FLW) who is diabetic and hypertensive. Amidst the pandemic, where comorbidities are threatening, she is back to the warzone by risking her own life to visit each and every household in our area to ensure that every child up to five years of age should get “Do BuNd Zindegi Ke” (two drops of life).We are yet not sure about the COVID vaccine. But we are absolutely sure that we have vaccines against fifteen vaccine preventable diseases (VPD). Amidst the pandemic panic, please don’t ignore those VPDs. Your ignorance may lead to another endemic, that may jeopardize the future of the nation’s future generations. We have defeated the wild polio virus. Your ignorance may bring it back. Please don’t commit the Seppuku.

The FLWs like Lakkhi Di, are again on their feet risking their own lives. They are visiting your area & your home. Ensure to protect the lives by allowing them to give your children two drops of life. And also ask them to guide you to immunize your children with other vaccines in the subcenter. Do remember, government is providing you the vaccines free of cost under Universal Immunization Programme (UIP), worth approximately Indian Rupees Thirty Thousand (if you immunize your children in the private facilities). Do not forget, seven times within five years of age. So, be wise, get your child fully immunize.

Patient’s Position, Hospital Bed & A Misnomer

Today’s hospital bed is a combined invention of GR Fowler (position), WD Gatch (bed) & Andrew Wuest and Son (mattress).

1861. Long Island, Jamaica. A thirteen-year-old boy joined as an apprentice in his father’s railroad repair shop. Five years back, he came to Jamaica with his family from New York city. His father was a master mechanic and established the railway repair shop. The boy was learning telegram and other jobs in his father’s shop.Few years later. A major accident occurred in the repair shop. Few workers became severely injured. The young boy came forward to aid the victims. The incident moved the boy and changed his life. And also the Art of Surgery.

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My tribute on World Health Day (2020)

180825-02159

Today is April 7, 2020. Today is the day to celebrate the work of nurses and midwives and remind world leaders of the critical role they play in keeping the world healthy. I am taking this opportunity to pay my tribute to all the health workers including Nurses, Auxillary Nurses & Midwives (ANM) and Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) by sharing one of my captured photographs, which is my personal favorite.

For the last couple of years, I am traveling across India as a commissioned health science photographer to capture the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). During this journey, I have encountered several frontline health workers and witnessed their works in the field. By holding their hands, I have crossed rivers like Brahmaputra and Narmada, climbed the Himalayas, experienced the extreme beauties of life in far-flung India. I have captured a few thousands of photographs in these two years. But this particular photograph remains close to my heart, till date. This is a photograph of about 3D – Determination, Dedication, and Delivery, based on which the entire foundation of the public health system of India is alive. Let me tell you the exciting story behind this photograph.

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The farmer who first inoculated cowpox (1774)

Jesty Book
Image © Wellcome Collection / London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

The global history of immunization shows some amazing creativity in terms of documentation. Keeping aside the science and art of discovery to delivery of vaccines, there were numerous people, outside scientific fields, enriched the history with their creativity. Apart from the scientific papers, the history of immunization had been documented by paintings, literature, folk arts, photographs, poetry, and many other forms. For example, Athenian historian and General Thucydides, who scientifically documented the Peloponnesian War (430 BC) and thus the scientific world came to know about the Plague of Athens (430 BC), including the symptoms of the victims during the epidemic. Or for example, the metaphorical connection between the famous rhyme “Ring a Ring o’ Rosie” with the Great Plague of England (1665) as described by noted English folklorists Lona and Peter Opie.

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The Most Powerful Photograph Against Vaccine Hesitancy, Ever (1953)

Peter Salk
© March of Dime Foundation

As a commissioned health science photographer, I have encountered a few cases of vaccine hesitancy (reluctance or refusal to be vaccinated) which I have documented. Being a person of visual communication, I am always searching for a frame that is powerful yet positive enough to break the hesitancy. I have not succeeded yet, at least not very convincing to me. But 67 years ago an unknown photographer already did it, that popped up during my recent photo research on global vaccination. And it immediately became my all-time favorite image against vaccine hesitancy. Let me tell the background story and narrate the photograph in terms of composition and visual literacy.

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Measles, War and Intelligence (1862)

Allan
Image © Library of Congress

While doing some photo research on historical archival images of global vaccination, I came across this simple yet powerful image that struck me. A very straight forward, properly exposed environmental portrait of a person without any dramatic appearance that was captured in September 1862. But the guy was not straight at all. To know about this person we have to dig deep into the history of the American civil war.

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Diphtheria, Dogs, and Delivery of antitoxins (1925)

Balto
Image © Central Park, NYC

The world is desperately searching for a vaccine to fight against COVID-19. And New York City is one of the worst affected cities around the globe. Let me tell you an amazingly positive story connected to the vaccination and the Central Park of New York City.

While doing some photo research on historical archival images of global vaccination, an image of a dog suddenly stuck me. A bronzed sculpture of the dog stands in Central Park at Manhattan of New York City – currently one of the worst affected cities by COVID-19 in the world.

Balto, the name of the dog whom the Central Park is mentioned as “a bronzed hero, near the Tisch Children’s Zoo, who stands ready to accept hugs and offer rides to his admiring fans“. To know Balto (1919 – 1933), we have to go back to 1925. An outbreak of diphtheria in Alaska. The Great Race of Mercy.

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