In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly agreed to set up seventeen Sustainable Development Goals aimed at improving living conditions on a global scale. Among these goals is the “good health and well-being” of people. Karuna-Shechen clinics aim to make healthcare  more accessible, and also to enable dialogue on  issues of well-being. 

Half the world’s population has no access to essential health services. Every year, a considerable number of families are plunged into poverty because of the healthcare expenses they have to pay.

Global Monitoring Report TUHC 2017

The medical emergency

The establishment of clinics in Bihar and Jharkhand aims to make essential healthcare accessible to as many people as possible. In India, the health situation is particularly worrisome , with 25% of the population having no access to healthcare.

Dr. Rakesh Kumar Chandel, a general practitioner who has worked  at the Karuna-Shechen clinic for the past 10 years, notes the rising cost of healthcare: “These days, healthcare services have become so expensive that poor families, as well as  middle-income families, have to go broke to get treatment. The infrastructure of most public hospitals is insufficient to meet the needs of large numbers of patients.” 

Dr. Rakesh Kumar Chandel

Patients  who come to Karuna-Shechen clinics also report that most public hospitals in their regions lack the  resources and equipment necessary for evaluation and treatment.. As Dr Chandel  points out: “Often   medicines prescribed at the public hospital were not available in the hospital pharmacy As a result , patients would only take the medicines available at the hospital counter, which provided only partial treatment.. When asked why they could not obtain sufficient medication most admitted they couldn’t afford it.”

Holistic health

Aware of the interdependence of the causes of extreme poverty, Karuna-Shechen’s approach is based on 5 intervention themes. In the context of health issues, our clinics take into account the need for a global vision of the needs of patients and caregivers.

Karuna-Shechen has six intervention themes for a more altruistic world

Our intervention method focuses on creating new infrastructures, equipped with various diagnostic instruments, and training medical staff. In this way, we combine medical care with prevention of disease.

The clinics include a radiology department, a laboratory accessible after medical consultations, and a pharmacy that offers a multitude of free medications prescribed by doctors. Because these clinics are able to respond to the needs of doctors and patients alike, the medical process is smooth and effective. The specialization of our staff also enables us to treat a wide range of pathologies. Each patient can request a consultation with several specialist doctors :

  • Physiotherapists, who provide physical rehabilitation following an accident or illness ; 
  • Nutritionists, who  inform patients about the details and benefits of a healthy, balanced diet, that is relevant  to each person’s needs and enhances the body’s healing process ;
  • Optometrists, who  evaluate patients and prescribe treatments needed to ensure their  visual health.

In this way, each patient’s evaluation  and treatment circuit is concentrated in a single location and they receive  real support in their recovery. After a doctor’s appointment, patients can go to the laboratory in the same building to get necessary diagnostic  blood tests, and then theyreceive  a prescription for  treatment which is  dispensed at the clinic’s pharmacy. 

For the most remote villages, where access to healthcare is even more complicated, Karuna-Shechen has developed mobile clinics, enabling us to offer these services to the most disadvantaged people. Medical staff travel to different areas to provide treatment and raise awareness of health issues.

Contribute to the development of holistic healthcare in India

Care and information

The fact that patients are cared for in a single clinic means that doctors are better placed to listen to and support them. A trusting dialogue between healthcare professionals and patients can then be established. It is in the spirit of Care that these clinics work to develop health and hygiene. Karuna-Shechen’s underlying aim is to understand each patient, support them throughout their recovery and provide a nurturing environment. Doctor Richa Kumari puts it this way “I am a firm believer of the saying, ‘Doctors cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always’. I always try to build a relationship of trust with each of my patients through small gestures like listening intently to them, conversing in the local dialect, and treating them with kindness”.

The nursing staff are committed to  broader and more enduring interactions beyond  simple medical consultation. As Dr. Rakesh Kumar Chandel points out, the lack of patient information is one of the issues at stake in the health question: “In many cases, people avoided blood tests because they mistakenly thought there would be excessive blood loss. So I deduced from my conversations with patients that there were problems of affordability and lack of health awareness among the population”

We believe that caring goes beyond medication and diagnosis. The mission of Karuna-Shechen clinics is also to inform and educate the public. In order to dispel the myths surrounding health, both physical and mental, the medical and nursing staff do their utmost to highlight Care and the importance of the social interventions that complete the care pathway. 

In addition to the services provided by our medical and nursing staff, recovery from illness is  influenced by  the clinic ambience.  “The serenity and beauty of our clinic also have a positive impact on people. (…) They feel emotionally strengthened, which plays an important role in their follow-up and recovery. ” – Dr. Rakesh Kumar Chandel.

When each of us needs  to go to the doctor, there’s great satisfaction in leaving the consultation feeling heard and understood. Being able to confide our worries and listen to explanations of what’s going on in our bodies is comforting. Karuna-Shechen clinics aim to create this serenity and understanding of others.

The first rule before acting is to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. No true search for the common good will be possible without this.

Abbé Pierre
You too can participate in a more altruistic world by contributing to the development of clinics in India