Here’s a guest post about our project written by Sadhna, an intern at the Canadian High Commission in Delhi. The article was originally published on the High Commission’s “Canada in India” Facebook page. Apparently, I’m still a ‘youth’ — but maybe they’re referring to Sherri!
Healthy mothers, healthy babies: Calgary youth’s dream project
A Canadian youth has launched a hospital project in an economically-challenged village of Rajasthan that will provide excellent pre and post natal healthcare to local women. The project aims to address high infant and mortality rates, the skewed sex ratio and lack of access to medical facilities for poor patients.
An infant mortality rate of 65 deaths per 1000 live births… A maternal mortality rate of 388 deaths for 100,000 live births… a sex ratio of 861 girls to 1000 boys… deliveries conducted in unhygienic conditions… inadequate facilities for pre and post natal check-ups. These are some of the statistics from the Ganganagar district of Rajasthan. But instead of shaking his head at this challenging reality, a Canadian youth decided to take some concrete steps to improve these conditions.
Mr. Aneel Brar, a post-graduate in political science from McGill University, alongwith his cousin Sherri Shergill, set up a clinic in village 35BB of Ganganagar district. The clinic provides modern and hygienic conditions for treatment and check-ups of expectant mothers and new born babies. The clinic is a precursor to Mata Jai Kaur Hospital (MJKH), named in memory of Mr. Brar’s great-grandmother. Mr. Brar’s grandmother passed away while giving birth to her tenth child. This child, Baldev Shergill, who is also Mr. Brar’s uncle, later migrated to Canada with his brothers and sisters but never forgot the need for medical facilities in his hometown. Mr. Shergill set up the Prominent Homes Charitable Organisation which has provided initial funding for MJKH. Armed with this initial investment from his uncle, Mr. Brar has set out on a mission to improve the maternal and child healthcare facilities in Ganganagar district.
“I have visited a number of hospitals in Ganganagar, and noticed that the treatment meted out to poor patients is different from that received by the rich patients.” This pained Mr. Brar as the poor were left with no access to good healthcare. He is determined to address this issue at MJKH. “We are trying to come up with a fee structure where treatment can be subsidized for poor patients,” says Mr. Brar.
At present, the clinic caters to about 80 patients a week and is manned by Dr. Renu Makker, Nurse Balkeesh Banu and chemist Rajesh Kumar. All three share Mr. Brar’s vision and are passionate about their work. The hospital’s reputation is slowly spreading by word of mouth as patients who come here are assured quality care. The number of patients has almost doubled since the hospital started in 2010.
There are big plans for the hospital’s expansion. Mr. Brar aims to have a permanent team of doctors and other allied staff at the hospital. He also plans to invite specialists from Canada who will bring with them the latest know-how from the medical world. Recently, Dr. Hillary Lawson, a Canadian physician currently living and practising in Delhi, spent a day at MJKH, treating patients.
Mr. Brar also plans to educate the local people about the necessity of pre and post natal care, the importance of hygiene and hospital deliveries. He also aims to improve the sex ratio in the district by educating parents and spreading awareness. His aim is to assist the Government of Rajasthan in its goal of health for all.
“My goal is make quality healthcare accessible to all. The required technology is available in India and we plan to use it for everyone’s benefit”, says Mr. Brar.
By the end of next year, he plans to expand the hospital so that all facilities are provided at one place.
Here’s wishing Mr. Brar every success in his healthcare mission.
Read more about Mata Jai Kaur Hospital: