A Project of compassion : bringing dignity and hope
There are estimated to be 160,000 leprosy sufferers in Mumbai. They live in ‘villages’, typically unofficial territory in back streets or on pavements. Treated as outcasts due to their conspicuous deformities, begging is their primary source of income. From time to time police transport them to caves outside the city from where they gradually return to their ‘villages’.
Medically, many have taken courses of medication, which renders the condition inactive.
Nevertheless, they live with the problem of anaesthetic extremities due to permanent nerve damage. This results in repeated damage to hands, feet, faces and so on resulting in untreated sores and ostracised by society.
Hygiene is difficult. Not being allowed easy access to fresh water by the population at large they often wash in the highly polluted sea, which further infects their open wounds.
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We aim to do
- To bring medical support and resources viz. teams of paramedics and health workers, who seek out the deprived affected by leprosy and other fatal diseases living on the streets of Mumbai and treating those affected
- To provide resources like training, counselling and provisions that can lead the affected towards self reliance.
- To increase the number of clinics and contact points where the suffering can be ministered.
- To educate the community, to encourage people with leprosy to come forward and to remove the social stigma attached to leprosy by integrating them to the society.
- To provide service to the ‘cured’ leprosy affected people, who make their living by begging on the streets of Mumbai. This includes a fresh-water bathing facility, ulcer clinic and social contact, with assistance in obtaining medical care in local hospitals as required.
- 57% of the new cases in the world are found in India 57% 57%
135,000 new cases reported every year.
160,000 leprosy sufferers in Mumbai.
THE MOBILE CLINIC
Our mission is to provide resources that can usher health, hope and dignity to people affected by leprosy and other diseases of poverty
The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted.
THE MOBILE CLINIC
The Mobile Clinic
Mobile Clinics have been established in back streets of Mumbai where the leprosy
sufferers are provided with vital resources like medical care (dressings etc), showering facilities, hot drinks and provision of clean clothes.
Karuna Mobile Clinic has the following facilities.
- A bathroom, 3 x 3 ft supplied with water from a 800 liters overhead water tank.
- Fresh towels and washing clothes facilities for each patient.
- Wounds & ulcers easily dressed on a 6 x 1.5 ft examination table.
- Doctor available in the van for consultancies and minor surgical treatments.
- Heating facility to sterilize used instruments.
- Plenty of storage for medicines and dressing materials etc.
- Has its own power supply through a 2KVA generator and a 1.5 KVA inverter.
- Awnings on the left hand side & rear of the van for protection of the waiting patients from the sun or rain.
From the first clinic of 7 patients, started in June 2000, there are now about 3000 registered patients, with an average of 20 at any one clinic as of June 2012. There are 9 clinics held at 9 locations in different parts of the city. Besides this, the clinic also helps other churches with the medical aspect of their community development work. Occasionally a social get-together is arranged at the society office or at the place we have clinics to provide social inter-action with others. This helps both the leprosy affected people and the friends of the society to overcome the rejection, prejudice and fear of each other and hopefully lead to greater integration into society. The leprosy-affected people are very friendly and grateful for the services Karuna renders at the clinics besides helping/assisting them with hospitalization services when required.
Karuna undertakes a comprehensive approach to leprosy and other diseases among the deprived, where work is undertaken in consent with other non-governmental organisations. We help leprosy affected patients with medical help in with the following hospitals in Mumbai: Vimala Dermatological Centre is a charitable leprosy hospital. The necessary back-up services for the cured leprosy patients is provided in cooperation with our teams and septic surgeries for ulcers have been conducted, which are beyond our ability to care for on the street. Other surgeries such as eye surgeries have been conducted where more than 500 patients have been ministered for eye problems, of which 180 persons were operated for cataract and more than 300 patients have been treated for chronic ulcers.
The Somaiya Charitable Hospital provides necessary backup in the form of hospital care and surgery for our patients who suffer from orthopedic problems needing surgery, other ailments like malaria, severe burns, hydro sill etc. We have as of date ministered to more than 250 patients, out of which 2 had a major surgery for replacement of his hip joint.
Although the Karuna Project was set up primarily for the leprosy affected people, others have also benefited at these clinics. This is particularly so for the marginalised groups like eunuchs and C.S.W. Karuna has been instrumental in helping numerous HIV/AIDS affected through this project. Some of them have passed away and we have been able to help them die with dignity. Karuna van also conducted 3 General Medical clinics at 3 different locations and has treated more than 8000 patients with an average of 25 patients at each clinic.
While our core goal remains the eradication of leprosy, it is increasingly important to work in ways which benefit whole communities.
We have seen the potential to see the communities transformed by the work we have undertaken; we started works in their colonies in Gulbarga in Karnataka District and Raichur in Andra Predesh District. We have started Medical clinics in these colonies and also help to start small businesses and built toilets and gardens for children. We have conducted small camps for children during summer holidays to impart values and vision to the young generation.
Caring for the next genration
Children being sent to a Children’s home.
In the recent past we have found 12 children of the Leprosy sufferers who have not been to any school and been neglected by their parents and used for begging has been identified to send to a children’s home run by a Christian church in Goa.
What we have achieved so far
Treatment given to Leprosy sufferers till June 2021
Treatment given to other marginalised till June 2021
No of Clinics now
What we need to make this possible