Most women in rural India have no access to even basic medical care. More than 70% of women deliver their babies at home attended by untrained women. To compound the problem, pre- and post-natal education and care is non-existent. In emergencies, there is little help for the woman in labour or the new-born child. According to the World Health Organization, women in poorer countries are 36 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than those in such rich nations as Canada.
Project: Directed by an experienced volunteer board of directors, Calgary-based CHILD Foundation has built and now operates a hospital to provide basic medical care to women and children in rural India. Supported by individual and corporate donations, plus two Rotary clubs in Calgary, Rotary District 5360 and The Rotary Foundation, Child Foundation constructed Maya Devi Charitable Hospital in the village of Sarurpur, which is near New Delhi. The facility began operations in October 2011 in collaboration with a local charity, MOTHER Foundation – CHILD’s sister charity, in India.
Impact: The hospital’s primary purpose is to provide healthcare to women and children from the community. It is staffed with four doctors and four nurses. These medical professionals provide basic medical care to local clients, plus health, hygiene, and nutrition education. Since opening its doors, the hospital has logged 40,000 service visits by patients. It has saved many lives, and improved quality of life, throughout the community.
Update: In addition to the paid staff, Canadian doctors have volunteered at the hospital. These medical teams have identified a number of key priorities to enable the hospital to better serve the needs of its community. These include installation of a pathology laboratory for blood and urine work; installation of solar power to provide reliable electricity; and the acquisition of basic diagnostic equipment – for example, for ultrasound.
Current Year: We still have much to do. Water-borne diseases are the most common source of illness, so we have identified clean drinking water as our priority.
Improved education in health and hygiene, and in female reproduction and sexual education, are also urgent. One solution to women’s hygienic needs is to acquire equipment capable of making low-cost sanitary pads for local women. We are raising the money to purchase a machine, and will employ local women to operate it. This will meet an important local need, while at the same time providing some local employment.This year, the budget for operating the hospital and for providing education and supplies is $45,000.
More Info: Dr. Anil Jain, volunteer Executive Director and Vice-Chair of CHILD Foundation, through the organization's website. Updated: April 7, 2014.