INDIA: Salesian Missions donor provides funding to help mobile medical van in New Delhi
(MissionNewswire) A Salesian Missions donor is improving the medical care of children and families in some of the poorest slums in New Delhi, India, thanks to a donation sent to the Medical Care for the Street and Vulnerable Children in New Delhi project. A recent donation is providing medications for the mobile medical van that visits several poor areas within the city.
Most of the children and families seeking care at the Salesian medical van would not otherwise have health care. Having the funding needed to keep a supply of medications for patients is critical for the care and wellness of those Salesian missionaries serve. The mobile medical van, in addition to medical assistance booth and clinics, enable Salesian missionaries to address a number of serious and sometimes chronic health concerns faced by youth.
“Education is always our primary focus, but we know youth are dealing with much more than just needing access to education,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian missionaries also meet basic needs like shelter, food and medical care, and we are appreciative of our donors who help to make this work possible.”
The medical van visits several areas including Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, which is a place of relief for thousands of helpless, poor and homeless people. It serves free meals and clean water for anyone who is in need. The mobile medical van visits this area so that anyone who needs it can access a check-up or address a pressing medical concern.
The mobile medical van also visits Jama Masjid, a mosque in New Delhi and the largest in India, with a courtyard capable of holding 25,000 devotees. It is located in the middle of a densely populated local market and also has a night shelter where many homeless sleep. The children with their mothers or guardians form a line and wait to be examined by the doctors. The medical van is parked right outside of the shelter, and the coordinators arrange the children related to their medical concern and urgency of the concern.
In the Madanpur Khadar village, the Salesian mobile medical van also addresses the health concerns of Muslim migrants from Myanmar, known as Rohingya. The Rohingya are often described as the world’s most persecuted minority. They are an ethnic group, the majority of whom are Muslim, who have lived for centuries in Myanmar. They are not considered one of the country’s 135 official ethnic groups and have been denied citizenship in Myanmar since 1982, which has effectively rendered them stateless. Salesian missionaries have an initiative to give special attention to this population and lend a helping hand to those most in need. Many are also facing mental distress from being forced to migrate.
Better medical for children in India is critical. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), close to 5.8 million Indians die each year from heart and lung diseases, stroke, cancer and diabetes. One in four Indians are at risk of dying as a result of a non-communicable disease before they reach the age of 70. Doctors in the country are also finding that people are being affected by heart disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases at younger ages.
The WHO notes that globally, more than 4 million deaths are caused by exposure to indoor household air pollution and 3.7 million deaths are attributed to outdoor air pollution each year. Approximately 40 percent of the deaths from indoor air pollution and 25 percent of those attributed to outdoor air pollution occur in Southeast Asia. The poor in India who live near busy roads and industrial sites are disproportionately affected by air pollution as are women and children who spend more time at home breathing in smoke and soot from cooking stoves.
HIV/AIDS is also a serious concern in India. According to UNICEF, the disease was first detected in the country in 1986 and today there are 5.7 million people living with HIV/AIDS in India. Close to 38 percent of those infected with HIV are women and 55,000 to 60,000 children are born every year to mothers who are HIV positive. It is estimated that the country has more than 220,000 children infected with HIV/AIDS.
Photos courtesy Salesian Missions (contact for usage permissions).
Salesian Missions – India
UNICEF – India – HIV/AIDS