Exploring integrated healthcare opportunities in Gujarat, India
4 November 2016
Academics from UCL have visited villages in rural India to see how they can work with partners to improve the health of children.
UCL academics specialising in education, engineering and child health visited villages in rural India to see how they can work with partners to improve the health of children and their families.
Professor Marie Lall (UCL Institute of Education and Pro-Vice-Provost South Asia), Professor Monica Lakhanpaul (UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health) and Dr Priti Parikh (Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering) visited projects run by not-for-profit Mukul Madhav Foundation in Gujarat, western India.
They received a warm welcome to M M Samplawalla School and Prathmik School in the villages of Abhor and Masar, where they learned how village leaders are working with the Foundation to improve the skills of people in the local community.
The UCL team sought to identify issues in the community with respect to health, education and sanitation, researching integrated solutions delivered via schools as nodal centres.
Marie said: “The Mukul Madhav Foundation is delivering life-changing work with Indian communities based near industry and factories. We saw how projects have been boosting the skills of local people, through initiatives like setting up computer classes and investing in sewing schemes.
“Monica, Priti and I received a wonderful welcome in the villages we visited and we are exploring the possibility of using our combined skills and experience to collaborate with the Foundation in areas where they are already engaged, primarily through health, environment and education.”
Making a difference
Mukul Madhav Foundation has been working for the underprivileged since 1999, primarily in areas of Maharashtra and more recently Gujarat.
They cover a wide span of projects in healthcare including medical health camps in schools, mammography camps, working with HIV positive expectant mothers, providing services to children with Cerebral Palsy, pediatric cardiac camps in association with Healing Little Hearts, UK and upgrading and uplifting existing medical facilities such as the NICU, PICU, CCU amongst others.
The Foundation also provides sponsorship to deserving candidates to complete their primary and secondary education, and have concentrated on issues of sanitation by building toilet blocks, setting up water schemes in draught villages and providing mid-day meals to students from poor socio-economic backgrounds.
Over 18 years, they have ventured into several areas and made a commendable difference in these communities.
The UCL group also visited partners in Pune and Mumbai to discuss opportunities for collaboration.
Following a successful scoping visit to India led by Vice-Provost International Dame Nicola Brewer in April, UCL has committed to strengthening its links there over the next two years.
Marie gave an update on the visit to members of UCL’s South Asia Regional Network, who also heard from the Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt on opportunities for academics to engage with Indian businesses.