Accessibility links

Breaking News

Yearly Camp Offers Free Medical Care in Gujarat, India

I’m Steve Ember with the VOA Special English Development Report.

Doctors expect to treat more than twenty thousand people this month at a special medical camp in the western Indian state of Gujarat. The two-week camp takes place each year during January at a hospital in the village of Bidada. This year, the camp opens on January second. A non-profit organization called the Shree Bidada Sarvodaya Trust organizes the event.

Doctors from India, the United States and England will treat the patients. Manilal Mehta is one of the organizers of the medical camp. He tells us that patients come from all over India, especially since the hospital in Bidada opened a new treatment center. The center was built as a result of the deadly earthquake in Gujarat in January of two thousand one.

Children as well as adults are treated at the medical camp. Doctor Mehta says doctors treat patients for more than twenty medical problems and diseases. Hundreds of operations will be performed. Doctor Mehta says about one thousand minor operations were done last year. More than three hundred patients with serious problems were sent to hospitals in Mumbai.

The Bidada medical camp began thirty-one years ago. At first, doctors treated only patients with eye diseases. Then the organizers expanded the camp to help people with other problems. Doctor Mehta says about two-and-a-half million patients have been treated since the camp began in nineteen seventy-four.

People in India, the United States and other countries give money to operate the medical camp. About two hundred doctors and other medical workers from Mumbai take part in the yearly event. They work with a medical team of about fifty members from the United States. All of those involved in the camp provide their services without being paid.

Many of the doctors were born in Kutch but are now living in the United States. Some of them have been returning to the camp for many years. The doctors from the United States also teach local Indian doctors about developments in medical science.

The Shree Bidada Sarvodaya Trust also organizes smaller medical camps for patients at other times of year. The organization operates the hospital in Bidada as well as Maru Hospital in Mumbai. These hospitals treat about three hundred patients each day.

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss. Internet users can read and listen to our reports at I’m Steve Ember.