Fellowship: Manish Kumar

Project Brief:
Project Type: Fellowships (description)
Primary Focus: health and cleanliness (description)

Secondary Focus: other

Area: Urban
Supporting Chapter Contact: Chicago
Status: completed - requirements ended
Project Steward: Bhawani Singh
Project Partner(s): Manish Kumar
Other Contacts: Sharique Hasan
Project Address: , A-893 Indira Nagar,,Lucknow,
Tel: 0522-2342435
Stewarding Chapter: Chicago
Jun 2010ChicagoUSD 3300
Jul 2009ChicagoUSD 2934
Aug 2008ChicagoUSD 1690
Dec 2007ChicagoUSD 1690
Aug 2007ChicagoUSD 1200
Apr 2007ChicagoUSD 1200

Total = $12014

Healthcare is a basic human need. Total health care spending in India is roughly 6% of total GPD that translates to between $220-250 per capita (in comparison US spends between $7000-$8500 per capita) (1,2). However in India, unlike US, a major portion (85%) is paid for directly by the patient. As a result, poorer sections of societies in India that live hand-to-mouth go without adequate access to healthcare. In addition to economic reasons, low awareness about medical conditions and the healthcare system in far-away cities, lack of medical facilities, and shortage of qualified medical practitioners in rural India make the problem even worse. These multiple factors lead to diseases going undiagnosed and untreated until they reach late stage and when patients require urgent medical care. Consequently, a major medical event in a poor family can cause serious devastation, especially if the individual who falls ill is the breadwinner in the family. Medical loans taken for treatment can often plunge the family deeper into poverty – and may prevent them from ever recovering. Lucknow and the surrounding rural areas is one of thousands of such places in India where people face these issues. Manish, an Asha Healthcare Fellow, has been a strong and efficient advocate of these people for the past two years and has earned respect from not only the patients, but also physicians, nurses, and government officers who bring needy patients to Manish.

1) http://www.nchc.org/facts/cost.shtml
2) http://www.sociology.org/content/vol8.1/deogaonkar.html

Proposed solution:

While there are many places in the healthcare system that need help from Non-governmental organizations, Asha’s work is strategically focused on areas where we determined most impact for our donor’s funds. As such, Asha Chicago is providing funds to support Manish’s fellowship in the area of healthcare. Manish’s work as a Healthcare Advocate is focused to address the following three areas of greatest need:

(1) Network and knowledge building to provide affordable healthcare access for poor: - Manish over the past two years has brought awareness and built network with physicians, nurses, and laboratory staff who provide a support for his work. Manish leverages this network by bringing needy patients to physicians who will treat patients for free or at minimal costs and hospital staff who will provide medication to Manish for these patients at minimal cost. Furthermore, Manish has a very strong knowledge of where to go for reliable, cheap, and quick access to medicines and laboratory tests – especially those that are used most frequently.

(2) Support during hospital stay and rehabilitation upon discharge: In addition to getting medications, lab tests, and a place in the hospital, Manish helps find families of destitute patients, and if no family member can be found, he provides them with support throughout their stay in the healthcare system, brings them food, and then if necessary finds them shelter in government facilities.

(3) Fundraising to pay for healthcare expenses: The third area of focus for Manish is to procure financial resources for more expensive medical treatments. As a long time volunteer with Asha, Manish has built relationship with local donors in Lucknow who help him financially or with medical supplies for the patients.

The expected impact:

There are several a clear and positive impacts of Manish’s work:

(1) Manish helps between 10-20 patients per month. Because of kind of conditions his patients suffer from – his assistance can sometime mean the difference between life or death, good recovery or life-long disability. A negative patient outcome can lead to many spillover effects for the families and communities.

(2) Increased awareness about these patients in both the local community as well as members of the healthcare system that will improve the provision of healthcare to these people.

Describe any innovative ideas & approach:

The idea of a Healthcare Advocate who will help poor patients navigate the system and assist during treatment is in itself very innovative in Lucknow. Other ideas Manish has to improve care for these patients include keeping a medicine cabinet in each ward of the medical college hospital in Lucknow. This cabinet will store the most utilized medications and products. This will make treatment more efficient and will ensure that access to medicines even if Manish is not at the hospital.

How will the impact of the work be measured (data collection, interviews, etc.):

• Patient records: Manish keeps a detailed record of the patients he helps. This record includes the patient’s name, their illness, the tests ordered, the procedures performed, the medications purchased, and when and where the patient was treated. The number of patients he helps and the severity of their diseases and the patient outcome provide a good indicator for impact of this work.

• Financial records: Manish keeps detailed financial record of his expenditures for all his activities including petrol, bus, medications, tests, and other expenditures incurred for his work.

In summary the role of the project is:

• Help needy patients navigate the healthcare system
• Provide support during their sickness
• Procure necessary funds and supplies for the patient so they do not go into perpetual debt
This healthcare activity is in collboartion with Asha Lucknow and the Lucknow government medical college and police department. A board of directors oversees the work of Manish and other volunteers.