AmeriCares India Foundation Base of Operations
In 2006, AmeriCares India Foundation was registered as a public charitable trust in India. Within three short years, on 6th November, 2009, AmeriCares India Foundation received the Indo-American Corporate Excellence Award for being the best NGO in India. The award was given on the 40th Anniversary celebration of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC).
AmeriCares India Foundation work now spans 20 states across India. While our base of operations is in Mumbai, we also provide ongoing medical commodity assistance to affiliate partners in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, have responded with immediate relief and long-term assistance to the communities affected by the Kosi floods in Bihar and the flash floods in Leh-Ladakh, and have performed medical camps in Madhya Pradesh and led disaster preparedness trainings in West Bengal.
Donated medicines play a key role in addressing the supply gaps that hinder health care providers from delivering effective care in resource-deficient and disaster-struck communities. To bring critical medicines to those most in need, AmeriCares India Foundation acts as a bridge between medicine donors and people requiring medical aid.
The AmeriCares India Foundation warehouse is a 12,000 square foot facility, licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is compliant with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board Standards, and is periodically audited by the FDA. It is registered under the Central and State Sales Tax, has its Import/Export Code, and has FCRA registration.
The 2005 floods in Maharashtra impacted the lives of more than 15 million people, caused almost 1,000 deaths and created a significant public health risk by contaminating water supplies. Reports in the media warned of the threat of waterborne diseases, and hospitals and health centers geared up to distribute free medicines to treat any outbreak.
Many of the low-lying areas were under water and local residents were faced with contaminated water sources and the threat of water-borne diseases such as cholera.
AmeriCares immediately deployed a series of emergency response air shipments valued at more than $15 million, including water purification treatments that provided more than 13 million liters of clean drinking water, as well as 158,000 courses of antibiotic treatments and a disaster kit of essential medicines.
Prevention is better than cure. But for unforeseen occurrences like emergencies and disasters, prevention is not always possible. Disasters, by definition, are bound to strike unexpectedly. In such situations, where the lives of many are at stake, preparedness plays a critical role. This is where AmeriCares India has stepped in to spread awareness.
In July 2010, AmeriCares India Foundation conducted a Hospital Disaster Preparedness workshop at Thane’s Jupiter Hospital in conjunction with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Government of India. Keeping in mind the hospital’s specific requirements, the program was particularly designed to introduce the hospital and its staff to the concepts of disaster preparedness within their healthcare facility. The program was attended by the senior management, and 75 members of the hospital staff including doctors, nurses and administrators. The scope of the program was to enable participants to think logically through preparation, mitigation, response and analysis of emergency and disaster management.
The course introduced the participants to the fundamentals of disaster management terminology, lessons learned from prior local and global disasters, methodology of tackling disasters and setting up a hospital disaster plan. It also included an interactive session where the incident command structure was explained. This was followed by table top exercises on various topics such as bomb blasts, radiation leakage, H1N1 outbreak, burns/fires where each group was assigned the task of becoming a part of the incident command structure and putting a plan into place in case of that particular emergency.
The effectiveness of the program was measured by participant responses pre and post training which demonstrated significant improvement, at a maximum of 108%. The workshop’s success builds upon other AmeriCares India Foundation disaster preparedness initiatives conducted in Ahemadabad, Kolkata and Nagpur. It also plans to organize this program in several disaster affected states such as Bihar. With such tailor made workshops that provide universally applicable concepts and strategies, AmeriCares India Foundation is on the forefront of disaster preparedness education in India today.
Riding on the success of the Emergency Medicine Training Program in Ahmedabad, AmeriCares India was again a lead international partner in the Mumbai Emergency Management Exercise (MEMEx) conducted from 3rd to 9th November 2008 with faculty from New York-Presbyterian and Harvard. The Exercise was the result of multi-institutional public-private partnerships, designed to harness the strengths and capabilities of regional emergency responders, hospitals, and state agencies as they prepare to confront urban catastrophes. The weeklong event included a series of rigorous trainings and workshops focusing on pre-hospital care, hospital disaster preparedness, advanced trauma care, and monitoring and evaluation methodologies, all culminating in a table-top exercise and a large field drill. The lessons learned from these exercises were quickly put into practice during the attack of 26/11 less than three weeks later. Some individuals and organizations who took part in the MEMEx drill were participants in the Mumbai terror response. These responders included Lifesupporters Institute of Health Sciences (LIHS), ambulance service; Mumbai fire brigade; municipal corporation disaster management cell; JJ hospital; Nair hospital; KEM hospital and other municipal hospitals.
AmeriCares India Foundation is leading a demonstration project aimed at strengthening the healthcare delivery system in urban slum communities using mobile medical clinics. This initiatve seeks to establish a sustainable health care delivery model that will reach slum residents with critical on-site services while continuing to leverage available government and private sector programs to increase the overall health and well being of the community. Currently, this project is focused on the slums of the largest suburb in Mumbai, Andheri. AmeriCares India Foundation mobile medical vans are operating in the slum communities of Andheri East five days per week, offering free medical consultation and free medicines to approximately 100 patients per day, routine visits for regular follow-up, electronic medical records to track patient data, and mobile units bringing these services to the patients’ doorstep.
India has the largest population of street children – more than 11 million, according to conservative estimates by UNICEF. Mumbai, Calcutta and Delhi each have around 100,000. Children are on the street because they have run away from home (in many instances due to rural poverty), are orphans or live on the pavement with their families. There are twice as many boys on the streets as girls. Almost half are self-employed. They sell flowers or other goods, work as rag pickers, at tea stalls, as porters and loaders, on catering assignments, as hawkers or other kinds of casual work. Most work long hours, 10 to 12 hours a day. Many have never seen a doctor and suffer from prolonged malnourishment and ill health.
In order to serve this disenfranchised population, AmeriCares India Foundation partners with Pavement Club by holding health checkup camps for the children in their program. Pavement Club supports approximately 250 street children with basic education, medical aid, meals, sanitation facilities, and clothes.
AmeriCares India Foundation doctors and staff have conducted several medical camps with Pavement Club at St. Andrew Church in Colaba, Mumbai. Hundreds of children have been examined, many for the first time in their lives. Most are between the ages of 4 and 18, and many are severely malnourished with worm infestation due to poor hygiene. Dental problems and vision impairment are also common presentation seen amongst the children.
In response, AmeriCares India Foundation treats these children with free medicines for their illnesses and nutritional supplements for their wellbeing. Further, subsequent programs are being organized that will include an accompanying dentist and an ophthalmologist to examine and treat the dental and vision-specific needs of the children.
Mr. Lawrence, Church Manager and Co-Coordinator of Pavement Club, said of AmeriCares India Foundation, “The interaction you have had with these street children will give them not only the benefits of medicines, but a sense of deserving, belonging and acceptance.”
Accidental exposure from patient blood and body fluids is a risk to Health Care Workers (HCW). This threat is irrespective of the category of the HCW and can include physicians, surgeons, nurses and paramedical staff, as well as personnel charged with waste management. According to the World Health Organization, there are two million occupational exposures to blood-borne pathogens per year. In HCW, 40% of Hepatitis B, 40% of Hepatitis C, and 4.4% of HIV exposures are due to needlestick injuries.
With the support of BMS Foundation, AmeriCares India Foundation is leading a demonstration project at Jagjivan Ram Railway Hospital in Mumbai Central, aimed at preventing the spread of Hepatitis and other viruses through the development of health worker safety and risk minimization. The program works towards its objective by focusing on staff immunization; the availability and proper utility of personal protective equipment and safety-oriented supplies; the reduction of needle-stick injuries; maximizing full course of post-exposure prophylaxis; raising awareness through educational materials and a regular lecture series; and standardizing effective training modules for proper health worker safety promotion.
AmeriCares India Foundation has launched its Municipal Oral Hygiene and Anti-Tobacco Project in conjunction with the Education Department of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. The first phase of the project focuses on 49 Municipal Schools totaling 43,000 children, with the ultimate goal of reaching half a million children studying in all 1,393 Municipal Schools across Mumbai.
Studies show that in more than 67% of cases, the tobacco habit starts between the ages of 10 – 15. Children are therefore quite vulnerable to tobacco addiction, and so it is paramount that this menace be approached early through prevention programs.
We call the project, ‘Mukaam’ or Manzil ho Kamyabi, Mukhswasth hai jaroori…’ It focuses on delivering positive messages to the children about the impact of healthy habits through the use of audio-visual media, interactive games, prizes and gifts for those participating, and involvement of role models especially statements made by stars, celebrities and well-known personalities. By coupling good oral hygiene with success and opportunity, we strive to prevent and/or reduce tobacco consumption amongst Indian adolescents and youth.