DEVELOPMENT REPORT - Indian Medical Camp

By Shelley Gollust

This is the VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT.

Doctors recently treated more than fifteen-thousand people at a special medical camp in the western Indian state of Gujarat. A non-profit organization called the Shree Bidada Sarvodaya Trust organizes the medical camp each year. It takes place for twenty days every January in a hospital supported by the organization in the village of Bidada.

More than one-hundred doctors from India and the United States treated the patients at no cost. The patients are from more than one-thousand poor villages in the area of Kutch. Liladhar Manek Gada is one of the organizers of the medical camp. He says patients are able to receive the best medical care at the camp.

Mr. Gada says doctors this year treated the patients for problems in more than twenty medical areas. They included cancer, diabetes, polio, malaria, heart disease and eye problems. Both children and adults were treated.

Doctors performed hundreds of operations during the camp. Some patients with the most serious problems were sent to a hospital in the city of Mumbai. Mr. Gada says the doctors and other volunteers provided their services free of charge.

The medical camp has existed for twenty-seven years. At first, doctors treated only patients with eye diseases. Then the organizers expanded the camp to help people with other diseases. Organizers say the medical camp has treated about one-million-seven-hundred-thousand people during the years. They say it may be the largest medical camp of its kind in the world.

People in India, the United States and other countries provide the money to operate the camp. Many doctors who serve in the camp were born in Kutch and now are living in the United States. Some of them have been returning to volunteer at the camp each year for twenty years. Many doctors ask for and receive free equipment and supplies for the camp from American medical companies. The doctors from the United States also teach local Indian doctors the most modern medical techniques.

One of the organizers of the camp grew up in Kutch and now lives in the American state of California. He says many young Indian-American doctors work in the camp for several days each year. He says the experience changes their lives forever.

This VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT was written by Shelley Gollust.

Voice of America Special English