Uttar Pradesh, India
Where your support is needed
Naini is situated in the state of Uttar Pradesh close to the major city of Allahabad, which has a population of approximately 2.5 million people. Disease is rife due to desperate poverty, poor hygiene and a lack of accessible basic health care.
TLM has been working in Naini since 1906. The hospital is well known in the area for its general expertise and it has an excellent reputation for the quality of its reconstructive surgery. Situated in the most densely populated and disadvantaged state in India, the hospital plays a significant role in the health care of the rural population. Last year, the hospital Outpatients Department recorded 22,299 new registrations, including 2,847 leprosy patients.
The majority of patients come from the most vulnerable sections of society, including women, children, patients with disabilities, and people living in poverty. Naini Hospital provides a wide range of services including leprosy treatment and surgery to correct disabilities, ophthalmology, dermatology, gynaecology, orthopaedics and general surgical procedures.
Why your support is needed
Most people living in Uttar Pradesh can’t afford private medical care; for leprosy-affected people living in poverty, it’s a distant dream. Their only healthcare option is to go to a government health facility, but even then they’re not guaranteed to receive treatment; many doctors in the government and private services sector refuse to treat patients with leprosy because of the stigma attached to the disease.
This prevailing stigma also causes people to hide the symptoms of leprosy, afraid to come forward for help because they fear rejection by their families and communities. Sadly, delaying treatment in this way can lead to irreversible disability, nerve damage and loss of sensation.
Even after being diagnosed and treated, leprosy patients don’t always get the care they need. Government health workers don’t routinely teach patients about self-care - how to look after their vulnerable hands and feet to prevent injury and promote healing - and they don’t provide protective shoes or other mobility aids.
What your support will provide
For £3,000, Gorse Hill Baptist Church will provide a bed for 52 patients at Naini hospital; that’s one patient every single week. The hospital needs refurbishment so as well as this it will cover the cost of bedding and clothing, three good-quality meals per day, any medicines needed and a small amount of pocket money.
As well as meeting patients’ medical needs, your gift will bring a real and valuable psychological benefit. Being served nutritious food strengthens patients’ bodies, but also encourages fellowship as they share meals together. Fresh clothes and clean sheets will help patients to feel cared for and comfortable. Many of them will have been told over and over again that they are unwanted, worthless, dirty or inferior. Being given new clothes to wear and a clean bed to sleep in shows them that they are worth being cared for. For many, this is a revelation.