One boy's dream: A medical clinic in Kalwa

Last year, an 11 year old Kalwa resident, Shravan Sharma, passed away from a lack of accessible health care in his neighborhood. The community was devastated by the loss of a life so young, so full of life. Shravan had big hopes and dreams - he wanted to be a doctor. He was never able to make his dream come true, but his legacy will live on.

Sundara has joined forces with Gabriel Project Mumbai and Doctors for You to build the Shravan Health Center in Kalwa East. Now, 120,000 people, including thousands of children and hundreds of prenatal/postnatal women in Kalwa will benefit from a health clinic that was build in his name.

This clinic is a life-saving initiative for the children of the Kalwa community who until now had no access to basic medical care,” said Jacob Sztokman, founder of Gabriel Project Mumbai that spearheaded the initiative. “Shravan’s death was a wake-up call about how many preventable deaths there are among children in the slums. This clinic will be transformative for the entire community, saving lives of children and promoting basic health and medical care.

The clinic will provide: minor acute care, treatment for burns and injuries, immunizations, health and nutrition education, prescription assistance, preventive checkups, and referrals to specialists. Other services include curative services, preventive health check-ups, growth monitoring, periodic de-worming, Vitamin A and Iron Folic acid supplementation, and minor procedures like cleaning and dressing The clinic will also provide free vaccinations and immunizations, some inexpensive or free medicines, and will have a special fund to subsidize advanced treatments that need to be conducted outside of the clinic, such as blood tests and x-rays. An estimated 80% of the children will be managed with available facilities. The remaining 20% with more serious issues that require referral or hospitalization will be assisted during their protracted procedures.

The impact of this clinic will be enormous,” Mr Sztokman added. “At GPM, we have been providing nutrition and literacy for children for the past three years. But when Shrawan died, we realized that this is not enough. We also need to be providing basic health care. This triad of health, nutrition and literacy is the formula necessary for real transformation and giving these beautiful children a real chance at life.

The Shravan Health Center is a two-room center open five days a week, between 9AM-2PM, with regular evening operations Monday, Wednesday and Friday 6PM-9PM to meet the needs of working parents. The clinic will be staffed by a pediatrician, a general practitioner, a nurse and an administrative manager. It is estimated that the staff will be able to service an average of 45 patients a day, approximately 200 patients a week, or almost 10,000 women and children a year.

Additional hygiene and health workshops will be run for the children and community in general from the clinic after operating hours by Sundara. The focus of the workshops will be hygiene, disease prevention and promotion of healthy living. The community outreach team made up of local women who will be trained as health representatives in the slums and led by a social worker, will go house to house giving vaccinations, and providing basic health-care education.

Erin Zaikis