Americares President and CEO Christine Squires shares an uplifting story from a recent visit to Americares India’s health programs, including one of its 13 mobile health centers.
Sitting across from Firoza under a shade umbrella in Mumbai’s Malad slum community, it was hard for me to believe this smiling and vibrant 40-year-old had suffered a major health crisis just weeks before. “If it weren’t for Americares, I wouldn’t be sitting here telling you this story,” Firoza told me.
I knew the staff of Americares India’s mobile health centers care for 50,000 people a year and visit thousands of homes to offer health screenings, but the numbers can’t convey the personal impact of lifesaving care. Only Firoza herself — now healthy and safe — could do that.
Firoza’s life was saved, she told me, by a knock on her door. She opened it to find Insha, an Americares community health worker, offering a free check-up. Firoza felt mildly ill and welcomed Insha. But Insha quickly recognized that Firoza was dangerously ill: Her blood pressure was extremely high, her face was drooping and she had other signs of stroke. Insha consulted with a colleague and convinced Firoza to go the hospital immediately. When the hospital refused to admit Firoza — an uninsured woman with a slum address — Firoza’s mother called Americares staff, who again advocated for their patient. After three days in the hospital, Firoza’s blood pressure stabilized and, most likely, a stroke was averted.
Thanks to the regular care she receives at the mobile health center, which visits her neighborhood twice a month, Firoza is back at work on the cleaning crew of a local mall, helping to support her family and healthy enough to enjoy time with her husband and children.
Later that evening at Americares India’s annual staff recognition event, I met Insha and Farzana, the community assistant who helped convince Firoza to go to the hospital and advocated for her admission. They are among 160 Americares India team members who share a dedication to save lives and improve health. Meeting those team members and the patients we serve underscores the truly lifechanging work of Americares – in India, and around the world.
Visit the Americares India website to learn more about the India team and the mobile health centers.
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