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Maharashtra

Children’s Health in India: First Doctor’s Visit at Age 10

  • July 16, 2009
  • Americares India, Maharashtra, Health Promotion Programs

Imagine not being able to see a medical doctor until the age of 10 and faced with a potentially deadly health problem like malnutrition, worm infestation, or an infection or disease.
  
That is a sad reality for many street children in India.
  
While children in affluent nations likely saw a doctor the moment they were born, that is not the case for far too many children in India. In fact, many do not see a doctor at all until they have fallen gravely ill. 

But AmeriCares is working to change that. For over 15 years, AmeriCares has been providing lifesaving medicines and medical supplies to health care providers in India. Last year, AmeriCares India was openend, a strategically located office and warehouse that allows a deeper commitment to the poorest and most vulnerable people in India and the region.

Recently, AmeriCares partnered with Banyan Tree Centre — a local organization in Mumbai that helps to improve the lives of street children. Despite the scorching day, children were lined up out the door of the Centre and around the corner. AmeriCares conducted physical checkups, treat worm infestations (one of the biggest health problems street kids have) and provide nutritional supplements to nearly 100 malnourished children — and for many, it was the very first time they had ever seen a doctor!

The camp was conducted at Colaba St. Andrews Church, where church manager Mr. Lawrence was thrilled with the tender care provided to the needy children: “The interaction with these street children will give them not only the benefit of medicine, but also a sense of belonging and wantedness by society. The magic that you have done is beyond words,” said Lawrence.

AmeriCares provides ongoing support for the work of health care professionals through our Medical Assistance Program. To equip doctors and nurses with the tools they need to deliver quality care, AmeriCares India has provided medicines and supplies on an ongoing basis to hospitals, clinics and public health programs.