Emmanuel Hospital Association – India
EHA is a network of 21 hospitals and 27 community health projects in northern and central India committed to caring for poor communities irrespective of caste, creed or race. A high proportion of India’s population continues to suffer and die from preventable infections, tuberculosis, malaria, cholera & diarrhea, malnutrition, and pregnancy and childbirth related complications. EHA hospitals provide the full range of clinical services, including obstetrics & gynecology, ophthalmology, pediatrics, general surgery, urology, and general & family medicine.
EHA is excited to offer cross-cultural elective experience in medicine, nursing, dentistry, physiotherapy, pharmacy, hospital administration, and public health for students who are interested in expanding their horizons and being challenged by an experience in India. EHA currently hosts about 100 health profession students per year.
Location & Community
EHA serves throughout northern and central India in the provinces of Assam, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttaranchal, and Uttar Pradesh. This region of India is generally remote and economically disadvantaged. Most of the year the climate is quite warm. From February to November temperatures will be at least 30 degrees Celsius (86 deg F), but in the height of summer temperatures reach 45 Celsius or more (over 115 deg F). December and January, or year round at Landor Community Hospital high in the mountains of Uttaranchal, overnight temperatures are less than 5 Celsius (less than 40 degrees F)
All students and volunteers first fly to Delhi to attend an orientation and then travel onto their assignments. They will be met at the airport and taken to a hotel in Delhi to rest and go through the EHA orientation program. The one-day event includes shopping for appropriate clothing, instruction about basics of Indian and EHA culture, and preparation for the hospital environment. EHA will arrange for transportation to the assignment via train. At the destination, hospital staff will meet them at the station and transport them to the hospital.
At the end of the assignment, students and volunteers return to Delhi for a half-day debriefing that gives them the opportunity to share what they have learned and prepare to return home. Many students add a vacation to the their time in India, which is a great idea and best timed at the end of the assignment. EHA can refer students to reputable travel agents for the arrangements.
Prospective visitors should visit the India Embassy website appropriate for their nationality. United States citizens traveling to India need a visa in advance and can visit the Embassy of India website for full information. All students and volunteers should apply for “Tourist Visas.”
Traveler’s Health & Safety
One should consult with their personal physician before traveling, and refer to the CDC Travel Website for the most up-to-date health information. Travelers are advised to refer to the United States State Department website for the most up-to-date general travel information, and to regularly view current travel advisories.
A high proportion of India’s population continues to suffer and die from preventable infections, tuberculosis, malaria, cholera & diarrhea, malnutrition, and pregnancy and childbirth related complications. Most Indian women deliver in their villages on their own or with the help of a village midwife (Dai), and those who present to hospital are usually emergency cases and often require Caesarian section.
At the same time new health threats are stretching the capacity of the health system to respond. Approximately 4 million Indians are living with HIV, and the virus is spreading from highly susceptible groups to the general population in some states, threatening to erase much of the social, economic and health gains since Independence.
EHA purposely aims to serve India’s the most disadvantaged people. Most patients are extremely poor, some are Moslems, and many are women and girls – those who traditionally receive substandard care. Medical care is often the last priority for the such people because of the costs involved. Therefore, patients frequently present very late in the course of their illnesses, or choose to die in their villages.
Hindi is the primary language of northern India. All of the doctors and most of the staff speak at least some English. Patients, however, are almost entirely Hindi speaking. Staff are available to provide translation.
Medical Care Services
EHA is a network of 21 hospitals and 27 community health projects, and is committed to the transformation of communities with programs that invest in the health and well being of everyone, irrespective of caste, creed or race. With a catchment population of nearly seven million, EHA treats more than 500,000 patients each year. Each Hospital of EHA is a separate registered charitable society, which has entered into a Deed of Incorporation with EHA and each other. This form of relationship fosters accountability and mutual assistance between them all.
EHA hospitals provide the full range of clinical services, including obstetrics & gynecology, ophthalmology, paediatrics, general Surgery, urology, and family medicine. Diagnostic services include clinical lab, radiology, and ultrasound. Service statistics for 2005 include 55,953 inpatient admissions, 6431 major surgical procedures, 7,756 eye surgeries, 16,029 supervised deliveries of which 12,346 were high risk pregnancies.
HIV Care Services
EHA has had a strong commitment to HIV intervention with research, counseling, prevention, and treatment projects since 1995. Particular focus is placed on higher-risk groups, including sex workers and migrants. EHA works through its hospitals and community health programs to provide comprehensive HIV care in some of the most underserved parts of India. These services are especially known for their home-based emphasis, critical care, and medical support to widows and children infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
Training and professional development are integral to EHAï¿½s strategy, and HIV Leadership students benefit from this approach. They learn the social, economical and psychological aspects of the disease, as well as management of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and opportunistic diseases.
Public Health Interventions
EHA manages twenty-seven community health and development projects in northern India. For example, the Herbertpur Community Project in the state of Uttrakhand works in primary health care, tuberculosis control, substance abuse rehabilitation, disaster risk reduction, and care for disabled children. The Chetna Project in the State of Bihar provides primary health care, women’s literacy, adolescent girls vocational training, and prevention of mother to child HIV transmission.
Whilst the majority of projects are associated with a base hospital, seven are ‘stand alone’ projects, with two in urban slums and the remainder in rural areas. Most projects include community organization, literacy education, financial training, micro-enterprise, maternal and child health, and service for physically and mental disabled children. EHA community health is also integrated with HIV prevention efforts that focus on behavior change.
Healthcare Profession Staff
Most physicians, nurses and other health professionals have chosen to work with EHA over more lucrative opportunities in India’s larger cities, the US or the Middle East. In all, EHA employs 118 physicians, 453 nurses, and 139 community health staff. Most physicians are Indian born and educated. Many have received postgraduate medical training in the US and Europe, and they are joined each year by hundreds of volunteer physicians from these nations.
EHA is excited to offer cross-cultural elective experience in medicine, nursing, dentistry, physiotherapy, pharmacy, hospital administration, and public health for students who are interested in expanding their horizons and being challenged by an experience in India. EHA currently runs an elective program for about 100 health profession students per year.
Educational electives are normally between 4 and 16 weeks in length, and placement is arranged at one of the 21 hospitals. The exact assignment depends on the size and location of the hospital the students prefers. Larger hospitals provide more variety but less opportunity for hands on clinical work, while smaller hospitals generally give less variety but more opportunities to get involved with patient care.
Student Lodging & Meals
Each EHA hospital regularly receives volunteers and health profession students, and has guest accommodations with meal preparation facilities.
Most towns have Internet cafes for emailing. Postal mail in India is unreliable.
INMED invites all participants to consider raising extra funds to financially support this facility. While such efforts are not required, they provide opportunity for INMED personnel to become involved in this important aspect of international healthcare.
Life at EHA hospitals is service-focused, though everyone enjoys a break a tea time. Upon returning to Delhi at the end of their assignment, students and volunteers participate in a half-day debriefing. Many then embark upon some sightseeing of India. EHA can make a referral to reputable travel agents for these arrangements.
Behavior & Dress
Clothing should be appropriate for hot weather. EHA asks that all women wear the local Shalwar Kameez, a long top and baggy pants, during their assignment. On arrival in Dehli, students will be taken shopping for appropriate clothing.
What To Pack
Visitors should bring copies of all healthcare profession licenses, diplomas, or certifications. It is also recommended to pack a carry-on bag that has essentials items just in case one’s luggage becomes lost. Bring clothes appropriate for the weather.