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Amarpurkashi Project in India: Health


Villagers queue to see the doctor at the Amarpurkashi Health Centre

Villagers queue to see the doctor at the Amarpurkashi Health Centre

The doctor performs cataract surgery

The doctor performs cataract surgery

A villager recovers after his cataract operation

A villager recovers after his cataract operation

An elderly villager is led to the recovery room after his cataract operation

An elderly villager is led to the recovery room after his cataract operation

Volunteer optometrists test the eyesight of the secondary school students

Volunteer optometrists test the eyesight of the secondary school students

Amarkpurkashi Health Centre

  • July 1999 the centre was built with funds received from a National Lottery grant.
  • 1999–2002 for the three years of the grant, qualified doctors were employed in the centre. Nearly 5,000 women and children were treated and over 800 expectant mothers. Check-ups were also carried out in eight primary schools and one secondary school in the area.
  • 2002–2008 when the grant finished, there was not enough income to employ doctors so the centre ran very successfully as a mother and child clinic with a midwife and her assistant. Women came from all the surrounding villages for births and abortions.
  • 2002–2005 during this time, the centre was also used as a centre for a programme called SIFPSA (State Innovations in Family Planning Services Agency). This was funded by USAID through the state government. It covered nearly 100,000 villagers in the area and focused on ante-natal care, immunization for babies and toddlers, contraception and family planning. It also employed 38 local women and one man. The programme was very successful and our workers were outstanding in getting babies and children immunized against polio, particularly in villages where the government teams had failed.
  • 2008–2011 an Indian organisation, Plan India, funded by the UNDP, asked the Amarpurkashi Project to implement a three year HIV/AIDS awareness-raising programme in rural areas. 48 link workers were employment, half of them women. The health centre became a base for this work. The programme went well but unfortunately, after three years, there were no more funds available.
  • 2012-2013 at this point, one of our returned volunteers, now a trustee, stepped in and donated enough money for the work to continue a further year.
  • 2013–2014 the project was approached by a doctor and practice manager who wanted to help villagers with improved health services. The centre was therefore re-opened and has been running successfully ever since. The doctor also goes regularly to nearby villages to let people know that the centre is now running fully again and there has been an excellent response. The fees charged are minimal but as the number of patients increases, there should be sufficient income to pay good salaries to the staff.

Eye Camps

  • 1987 Amarpurkashi Project received funds from the Canadian branch of Save the Children and organised the very first free eye camp for villagers. 480 patients turned up and 42 had operations to remove cataracts. At that time, there were no regulations in force and the operations took place in the primary school classrooms, with one of the staff waving a large hand fan around to keep the flies away!!
  • 1987-2013 following on from the resounding success of the first camp, free eye camps for villagers were held every year. Luckily, a sponsor was found each time. A few years ago, the government introduced strict regulations for these operations and since then, they have taken place in the small government community hospital in Bilari.
  • 2014 one of our volunteers from 2005 has raised enough money to fund an eye camp this year.

Health Camps

  • 2009–2014 - six women doctors came from the district town’s branch of the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology India to talk to local women and give free advice and examinations. This was so successful that it was decided to hold similar health camps for both men and women on a regular basis. The Kothiwal Medical College in Moradabad now co-operates with the project to provide a range of services including dental and eye examinations.