Fatima, who was diagnosed with epilepsy, was forced to give birth under a tree within full public view in 2009. The local hospital denied her medical care because she did not possess a BPL (below the poverty line) card. At the time of Fatima’s public delivery, India had the highest number of maternal deaths with 117 000 women dying during childbirth per annum.
Public health is one of the most crucial developmental sectors in any city or country, and India is no different. A city’s capability to offer adequate health services to its community determines the overall physical, mental and psychological health of the city and this directly affects morale and productivity. So it goes without saying that an efficient public health system makes for healthier, happier, more informed citizens.
When most people think of New Delhi, they imagine vibrant markets, scents of sweet and savoury, street food and historical landmarks, but not many people know about New Delhi’s innovative approach to social development, particularly in the public health sector. As a young city, New Delhi still faces many socio-economic challenges, but what’s amazing is how they choose to deal with it.
The environment and the challenges
India’s overcrowded population is one of the main factors of overstretched resources. These factors make it nearly impossible for the government to provide for all the country’s needs, let alone reach infringed and underdeveloped areas. When you’re faced with such stumbling blocks, what do you do?
New Delhi is home to many inventive organizations and unique community-led projects that are tackling public health issues and filling the gap.
One organization that really stands out is Khushi Baby, lauded for their ingenious approach to mother and child health care that merges the efficiency of modern technology with familiar culture. Kushi Baby has developed a digital necklace that makes medical history wearable. This necklace is both inexpensive and culturally relevant.
“We’ve integrated mobile health, wearable NFC technology, and cloud computing to produce a complete platform to bridge world’s maternal and child health gap; our goal is to be the digital key, marrying tradition with technology, to connect the last mile to health and social services”
This technology solves the following problems: lack of reliable health records that usually makes the work of community health workers erroneous and inefficient, and outdated data collection methods which lack patient specificity. It provides health officials with real-time, actionable maternal and child health data, ensuring mothers do not miss antenatal health visits and babies do not miss their vaccinations.
A common mentality when traveling from a more developed country to a developing community is that you, as the traveler, have a lot to offer or give. This is true in some cases, however, what you can learn from a community that is forced to innovate to meet basic needs in an all-odds-against-you environment is amazing. This is the motivation behind our Summer Volunteering program. We’ve put our effort into planning a meaningful itinerary for an unforgettable experience.
What to expect on your Summer Volunteering trip
On this trip, you will have the chance to:
- Volunteer and spend time on specially designed projects at development-focused organizations
- Attend workshops and trainings with local development sector mentors and experts
- Go on unique innovative and networking-themed field trips around New Delhi
- Visit Agra and Jaipur, seeing all of India’s Golden Triangle
- Explore the sights and culture of New Delhi
This is truly a “give and learn” immersion where you can get to know how people on the other end of the spectrum approach challenges in public health. You’ll form new networks for your public health research and studies, and finally, put everything you’ve learned into action to give back and contribute to making real change.
Sign up for your Summer Volunteering in New Delhi, start saving and get your passport ready! Applications close 20 May 2017