As many of you are aware, I was asked to go to India with a team of international headache experts to educate local providers. Each one of us on the team had a specific purpose and for me, it was to focus on the treatment of migraine in women. The need for good migraine management in India is great. With a population of over 1.3 billion, the estimated prevalence of migraine in India is over 150,000 million. By comparison, the prevalence of migraine in the United States is 38 million.
Women in India suffer from migraine disproportionally to men similar to the United States with a ratio of 3:1 beginning with puberty. To complicate the plight of women in India, many do not go for medical care without their husband or their husband’s permission. Part of my mission was to educate the need for women to have access to medical care.
Our team did educational programs in both Delhi and Kochi, India. The audience included neurologists, primary care providers, psychiatrists, nurses, and social workers. The next step is to help local providers in Kochi to open a Center of Excellence for Headache at The Amrita Hospital Center. This Center will offer a multi-disciplinary team to provide comprehensive care of the headache patient. Amrita Hospital is non-profit and provides care for everyone including those unable to pay.
Spending time on the streets of India, riding in a rickshaw in the very populated & crowded old Delhi marketplace, visiting Gandhi’s memorial, enjoying a boat ride on the backwaters of Kerala in southern India, and enjoying great food were all part of my experience. Perhaps the most memorable part of this trip was the incredible graciousness, hospitality, and kindness that I and the rest of the team experienced. Several neurologists, the hospital medical director for Amrita, and the US coordinator for our efforts hosted us. I have never experienced the level of hospitality that I did in India. The hospitality and kindness was universal from hotel staff, healthcare professionals, the Rickshaw drivers, and those in the local marketplaces.
Even the poor on the street of India exhibited a kindness and gentle spirit that is not common in the United States. I return, both grateful and humbled, by this incredible experience.
I am including a few photos from my memorable trip. I look forward to seeing many of you for follow-up now that I am back in the United States.
Dr. Susan Hutchinson