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Deep in the heart of central India lives Kamala, a tribal woman whose home sits on the fringes of Saptura Natural Park in Madhya Pradesh. Kamala is one of many tribal villagers who live on the outskirts of the Park, an impoverished no-man’s land lacking irrigation, running water, schools and other basic services. The majority of villagers work as subsistence farmers or as security guards in the park – difficult jobs that pay barely more than $5 a day.
Within such an environment, Kamala and her family struggle to survive. “Life is full of hardships for us. With spiraling prices and poor rainfall we are unable to buy food. So going to the doctor or taking medicines are out of the question. I even find it tiring getting through the daily chores, and my children suffer because of that,” said Kamala.
When someone in Kamala’s family gets sick, there is no neighborhood drug store and no family doctor to call. In an emergency, ambulance service is available, but the roads are treacherous and the nearest hospital is more than 3 hours away. That’s why AmeriCares goes the extra mile to sponsor temporary health clinics throughout villages like Kamala’s.
Kamala, a young mother with her third child on the way, continues to breastfeed her one-year-old son because her family cannot afford enough food. “Kamala is critically malnourished, but she knows her children also need sustenance to grow. A mother shouldn’t have to make such a choice,” said Dr. Purvish Parikh, Managing Director of AmeriCares India and head physician leading the medical camp.
AmeriCares intervention was life-changing for Kamala and her children. After a providing a free medical exam, Dr. Purvish counseled Kamala on prenatal care, breastfeeding and nutrition. She was also given nutritional supplements and vitamins to help her and her children. “It is wonderful that AmeriCares is providing us with such good quality care. And thanks to AmeriCares I now have the food supplements and medicines to give my family a healthier life,” said Kamala.
Kamala is just one of hundreds of patients who are able to receive regular medical attention at AmeriCares India medical camps. Stressing the importance of both preventive care and basic treatment, AmeriCares India routinely delivers free health checkups and free medicines to those living in rural villages like Kamala’s, urban slums and other populations in need across India.