In India, 9.5% of children will not reach their 5th birthday and in slum areas this figure can often be much higher. As many as 4 million people live in slum areas in Delhi.
In an attempt to address this, we have helped to set up a team of health workers in one pocket of the slums. This began with 12 women selected from one of the slum areas, and the team has grown to 30 at present. The women regularly visit 40,000 families, a population of about 200,000, which is roughly the same as the population of Swindon or York.
Health professionals from the UK have visited India on a number of occasions to provide training in basic areas of health care, first aid, hygiene, rehydration, treating infections, HIV/Aids and more. This has resulted in a significant drop in the infant mortality rate in this pocket of the slum.
We send £30 a month towards the salary of each worker with an additional £5 per month to cover their supplies such as bandages and medicines. With further resources, we could cover the whole of their pay or train more workers. We want to ensure the sustainability of this life saving project so that the infant mortality rates can be reduced further, across a wider area. If you would like to help, visit our How to give page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
We have provided each of the health workers with their own copy of the Hindi edition of a book called Where there is no doctor. This is widely used on the developing world. The women are not fully trained health professionals, of course. But one of the things that their training enables them to do is to recognise when a problem is serious enough for more professional help to be needed. Quite often, though, they are able to provide simple but effective treatments, and to offer advice and education.
People are pleased to see me. They will often come to me for help and advice, even at night!
Nareej, one of the health care workers.
On a recent visit to Delhi, we asked the health workers to tell us what they wanted further training on. We arranged for Penny Waller, a retired nurse from the UK, to visit and provide training on some of those topics. These included mosquito-borne diseases and problems related to blood pressure. We were also able to provide funds for the team to buy equipment to measure blood pressure. You can hear Penny talking about her visit in part of this video on our YouTube channel.
HIV/Aids is a serious public health issue in India, as it is in many parts of the world. Gill Nowland was one of our trustees and was able to draw on her training as a nurse and her experience with One25 Ltd, a Bristol charity working with street sex workers, to provide training on this important topic.