India has one of the lowest rates of public health expenditure in the world. With a few healthcare facilities available, there is a huge strain to provide the overload of sick patients with the treatment they urgently need.
Millions of people are pushed deeper into poverty every year because of the costs incurred from medical treatment. In 2012, the average number of deaths in India from communicable diseases was 253 per 100,000, compared to the global average of 179.
With a population of more than 112 million people, Maharashtra is India’s second-most populous state, yet 30% live below the poverty line. In these areas, access to health centres can be over 50km away. Each year, approximately 45,000 of the children living here die before the age of five, falling victim to malnutrition, diarrhoea and other illnesses. The area is also home to an alarmingly high number of people living with HIV and AIDS. In Osmanabad, a district within Maharashtra, only 18.5% of women know about transmission and prevention of the virus.
The SPARSH hospital (supported by P.R.I.D.E. India) is the only facility for healthcare in the Osmanabad and Latur districts. The hospital experiences a continuous influx of patients, with an average of 250-300 visits per day. Understandably, the staff and facilities are under tremendous strain thereby affecting the quality of service provided.
Islamic Relief Waqf has funded a mobile medical unit that will travel around marginalised communities, providing medical care to those who cannot afford to travel to the SPARSH hospital. Travelling to 25 villages situated between 10 and 40km of the hospital, the fully equipped unit will significantly reduce the burden on the hospital. Each village will be visited twice each month, reaching up to 20,000 people in need of medical assistance.
Some have travelled up to 80km to get the care they so desperately need.
Imamwadi is one of the villages regularly visited by the mobile medical unit. Located 20km from any medical facility and with no public transport, it is almost impossible for its residents to get medical care, especially in emergencies. When Ahmed came to the mobile medical unit, he was suffering from a hernia. He explained how he couldn’t afford the operation to remove it, meaning he was in constant and severe pain. The staff onboard the unit were able to examine him and arrange for immediate surgery. His brother, Sattar, said, “Allah will bless the donors and the staff of the mobile medical unit for making this vital service possible to those in need in this remote area.”
The staff on board the unit were able to examine him and arrange for immediate surgery.
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