Bringing Medical Care to the Rural and Urban Poor

Focus areas: Healthcare
Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

Background: Although India’s cities are home to scores of hospitals and private practices, medical care is out of the reach of the urban poor.  Special care for disabled children is almost non-existent; many of them are refused by schools and left at home with their distressed parents -banished to the fringes of society.

Elderly woman receives care at rural center

Health camp in Kunakunta village in 2011

Caring for the Urban Poor in Hyderabad
IDRF is working with Sahaj Seva Samsthan to bring healthcare to marginalized people in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, and its surrounding rural areas. Sahaj Seva’s Mahatma Sri Ramchandra Centenary Memorial Hospital provides affordable and high-quality healthcare to the poor for a nominal fee (and for those in extremely dire straits, free of charge.)

New patient rooms added in hospital (2011)

The hospital offers a comprehensive suite of services so patients who cannot afford to travel can still receive necessary care.  Services include lab tests, surgery, gynecology, and routine medical care including polio vaccinations for children. The hospital supplements its allopathic care with alternative medicines which are culturally-accepted and cost-effective.

The demand for the hospital has increased tremendously over the past several years – from 800 patients in 2000 to over 14,000 in 2011. With the support of IDRF and other charities, Sahaj Seva has upgraded the hospital to accommodate more patients and improve its surgical operation theater and patient rooms. The hospital staff is renowned for their excellent bedside manner.

Rural Health Services
Sahaj Seva also provides low-cost healthcare at its rural health center in Kanukunta village. The center organizes monthly camps offering allopathic, homeopathic, and Ayurvedic treatments from specialized doctors.  Since diabetes and hypertension are serious problems in this village, the camps offer blood-sugar tests and medication free of cost, and helps elderly patients with their insulin treatments. The center also provides health education and nutritional supplements.

Caring for Special-Needs Children

Akshay struggled with reading and disobedience at his conventional school. After 6 years at Bodh, his life turned around. Today he is a confident college student helping his father run a finance company.

Sahaj Seva runs a school for children with special needs, ranging from physical disabilities to developmental disorders. At the Bodh School, the 1:5 teacher-student ratio allows teachers to address the needs of each child individually, so they can develop to their full potential and overcome the societal stigma of disability.

In addition to the usual curriculum, students receive vocational training and tutoring for the critical board exams. They learn by using computers, audio-visual aids, play methods, games and physical activities. Thanks to the Bodh School’s partnership with IDRF, numerous graduates have been able to join the mainstream workforce and enjoy full careers and a happy family life.