Charutar Arogya Mandal’s mission is to provide quality healthcare for people from all strata of society. Which is why it comes as no surprise to see the not-so-well-off juxtaposed against their state-of-the-art premises, as ones walks through this spacious hospital.
On my visit, I chatted with family members of some beneficiaries admitted to the hospital. Their stories are truly heartbreaking but at the same time, speak volumes of the importance and need of Charutar Arogya Mandal’s service to them.
I first met with the parents of 2.5 year old Jaydeep, who have been coming to the hospital for almost a year now for Jaydeep’s treatment. When he was less than a year old, Jaydeep got a fever which kept recurring every 10 days. After many doctors and many sets of medication, they were advised to visit Charutar Arogya Mandal. It is here that the doctors diagnosed him with Leukemia. Jaydeep’s dad is a daily-wage labourer, so needless to say, his income is not enough to spend on chemotherapy and the like.
Like Jaydeep, 20-year-old Jagruti Patel is undergoing chemotherapy too; though hers is for Blood Cancer. Fate clearly hasn’t been kind to Jagruti. She was born a special child, with her legs slightly deformed too. Anand being a small town, there is no special school Jagruti can attend. So she spends her time at home all day, but is unable to really help out with housework due to her weak legs. Like Jaydeep, Charutar Arogya Mandal’s chemotherapy treatment has helped her fight her Cancer and she shall soon be cured off it.
Then there was Yasinbhai. Yasinbhai’s wife had given birth to a baby girl 5 days earlier. Unfortunately, there were complications in the delivery. Like 2.5 year old Jaydeep’s father, Yasinbhai too earns a daily wage for the days he secures work, as a painter. At Rs. 200 a day, he at best can get Rs. 6,000 a month. Whilst talking to me, he pulled out a Rs.10 note from his pocket and told me, “That’s all I have left. Enough for 2 cups of tea today. Once my wife is discharged in a few days, I shall go back to work and fill my pockets with some money again. ”
Our conversations ended with a rather teary-eyed lady. Mother of 6 daughters, her second eldest daughter had given birth to twins a few days ago. They were born premature at 880gms and 830gms, and were in Charutar Arogya Mandal’s NICU the day I met her. A Gujarati custom is for the girls side of the family to take care of all expenses related to the first child’s birth. Given the complications, even both sides pitching in financially, was not enough. Had it not been for the Government-run 108 ambulance service (that brought her daughter from Nayapur, 60 kms away, to the hospital) plus Charutar Arogya Mandal’s free care , the twins would, in all likelihood, not have survived.
These are just some of the heart-wrenching cases that Charutar Arogya Mandal was currently seeing. If you spend a day ( or more) with their team, they will share tons more. The status of health in India is clearly a pressing issue. While most cases are due to a lack of awareness – these people just do not know better – other are cases of God’s unkindness made worse due to the non-availability cum affordability of services. Against this scenario, the efforts of Charutar Arogya Mandal are truly commendable!