Women & Children's Center
Free Clinic in Namakkal, India
The C.A.R.E. Foundation, headed by Professor N. M. Samuel, M.D., is a partner organization focused on providing care and treatment for persons infected and affected by HIV and AIDS. The primary program is running a free HIV and AIDS clinic for women and children. They come primarily from the lowest caste -- "dalit" or "untouchables" -- and face doubled stigma because of their caste and because of AIDS. The Clinic has operated thanks to generous donations and reaches about 1,400 patients each year. The Center for Health and Hope provides more than 75% of the operating support.
Professor N. M. Samuel, M.D., is the President of the AIDS Society for Asia and the Pacific and this organization receives major funding from the Center for Health and Hope. Dr. Samuel sends regular reports on the success of the clinic, and Dr. Messer and other Center volunteers visit annually. The Women and Children's Center has been cited by local Indian authorities as a model for reaching HIV and AIDS patients. Competent, caring personnel work in a clean, safe environment.
The clinic epitomizes the Center's mission of "supporting and advocating for persons infected and affected by HIV and AIDS through programs of education, prevention, care, and treatment."
HIV positive persons are treated without regard to their ability to pay, but because they have a health need that must be addressed.
People coming to the clinic receive not just a diagnosis and medicine, but also education and counseling about how HIV is and is not transmitted.
Care is provided to children of HIV-positive parents; some of these children are HIV-positive, and others are not.
Pregnant mothers are treated so they do not transmit HIV to their new babies.
Follow-up care for patients includes home visits to make sure patients are taking their medicine.
Weekly nutritional supplements are provided to HIV-positive people who need more food if they are to successfully respond the powerful antiretroviral drugs.
One child-headed household perhaps best demonstrates the impact of this clinic. Following the death of their parents from AIDS, Siva, age 15, cares for his younger sister, age 12, and a brother, age 8. Siva works six days a week, cleaning eggs at a nearby plant. His sister cleans & cooks, and tries to go to school, though she has suffered from tuberculosis. The younger brother is HIV-positive and faces daily stigma and discrimination from other children, even at school. The clinic staff travels some distance each week to check on these children. Volunteers have built them a little brick house; others have provided them a bathroom so they have some privacy and an improved cooking area. Standing together, the children seek to survive against all odds, and the clinic goes beyond the normal expectations of what a medical center provides. As someone has said, "This clinic doesn't change the world, but it changes the world of these children."
In addition to meeting primary goal of serving women and children affected by HIV and AIDS, the clinic provides additional services as funds are available, namely:
Eye clinics, since people infected with HIV often discover dramatic changes in their eyesight, making it more difficult to work, read, and do ordinary tasks. Thanks to donations from Bethany Lutheran Church in Denver, Colorado, innumerable persons have been given eye care and glasses.
Providing extra help to people in need; such as a child who needs braces to be able to walk, and a woman who needs financial support to go to a specialist to treat painful vaginal warts.
Supplying high-quality rice to affected families in addition to the nutritional supplements that HIV patients receive.
Offer extension medical services to an isolated "tribal" population in Koli Hills where medical treatment is very limited.
Among the many programs the Center is involved in at Namakkal has been an effort initiated by the Friends of Namakkal. They made a video of their work in 2010, describing how five women from rural Colorado built a home for an AIDS family 8,000 miles away in India.
View it below or at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZlU8GtZnpI
The Women and Children's Center in Namakkal, India, addresses the needs of the most marginalized. The Center for Health and Hope supports this unique outreach to women and children. Needed are monthly gifts to support the operations of this Center which provides invaluable free medical care to persons suffering from HIV and AIDS.