Weʼve raised £65 to help Bel-Air Hospital, India, continue delivering world-class HIV/AIDS and TB Care.
- Cambridge, United Kingdom
- Funded on Sunday, 17th September 2017
Crowdfunding is a new type of fundraising where you can raise funds for your own personal cause, even if you're not a registered charity.
The page owner is responsible for the distribution of funds raised.
Bel-Air Hospital, in Panchgani, India is a hospital with no comparison. Originally built as a Tuberculosis sanatorium in 1912, it is now a leading light in India's battle against HIV/AIDS.
In India, the stigma of TB and HIV is still great. Parents have abandoned their children at the hospital gates, saying they found them in the street. Patients are often too scared to seek medical attention. Superstition is powerful. Although Bel-Air is a general hospital, locals will drive miles to the next hospital rather than go to a hospital that treats TB and HIV. Once treated, sufferers are not infectious but they can still suffer discrimination, which impacts on their mental health and livelihoods. Many former patients prefer to remain at Bel-Air as respected employees, where they can escape the label of HIV/TB positive and contribute to the community atmosphere.
The hospital's unique approach to patient care is years ahead of its time. Education and counselling are at the heart of treatment. Relatives must attend with the patient, a policy that helps break down stigma and spread education amongst the wider community. Patients learn how to take as much responsibility for their own health as they can, as this is a key part of their long-term wellbeing. Fees for medical treatment are waived for those too poor to pay them, partially funded by allowing richer patients to pay for additional luxuries such as a private room. Also, an attached nursing college helps bring in funds at the same time as providing an army of healthcare workers, whom I found to be truly excellent. With initiatives like these, rich and poor can receive the same medical care.
In the 90s, the hospital's future looked much less rosy. Its success is thanks largely to its Director, Father Tomy. A Catholic priest by training, he was appointed by the Indian Red Cross Society at a time when the hospital had fallen into extreme disrepair. In his mission to rejuvenate Bel-Air, Father Tomy has had to battle vested local interests who believed that if TB and HIV were treated in Panchgani their reputations and businesses would suffer. Father Tomy has endured all kinds of tribulations, including local corruption, riots, being arrested at the behest of a baying mob, extortion by the state electric board who eventually disconnected the hospital's electricity and water supply, theft, being ripped-off by pharmaceutical companies, managerial plots to remove him, and false accusations of rape and assault. Even the local council once refused to cremate deceased patients for fear of contaminating the crematorium (there is no risk of cross-infection from cremation)!
Today, the hospital's darkest days appear to be over, but it is still under severe financial strain, and the hospital needs more time to realise its plans for sustainable funding. For that reason, and because I have been so moved by the patients, the staff and the excellent care provided here, I'm raising money through JustGiving. All proceeds will go directly to the hospital.
If you have been moved, as I have, by the story of Bel-Air, please give generously. A few hundred pounds can fund the care of several patients who don't have the means to pay for themselves.
Disclaimer: I have made this page of my own free will. I was not asked to fundraise by anyone at the hospital. My first contact with Bel-Air was during my medical elective placement in July 2017, which was fully funded and organised by myself. Everything in this passage is accurate and true to the best of my knowledge.
Updates appear here
Zackary Hassan started crowdfunding
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Aug 21, 2017
Aug 19, 2017
Aug 19, 2017
Happy Birthday Zack, great idea!
Aug 19, 2017
Happy Birthday man!Amazing idea :)
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