Sector: Village Health Care
CORD uses a holistic approach to healthcare services. Doctors in outpatient clinics, village midwives, health guides, and community groups together promote and manage health issues. Educating people, recognizing the role of midwives in isolated villages, and connecting to referral services is an integral part of the program. Immunization, family planning, nutrition, hygiene, and sanitation are promoted. Prevention of diseases from diarrhea to AIDS is emphasized. When patients are unable to obtain immediate medical resources in their community, CORD connects them to resources through its extensive networking system. This was the case for Darshana Devi after a serious accident.
In the rural village of Patyalkar, Darshana Devi’s life was not easy. From morning to evening she attended to her in-laws’ every need. One day during a visit to her parents’ home, her fate took a sudden turn. Darshana Devi was taking a bull to an open field. Suddenly, the bull started to run away. As Darshana Devi was chasing after the bull, she tripped and fell, seriously injuring her leg. She screamed for help and fortunately her parents heard her desperate pleas. They brought her back home and took care of the injury as best they could. Darshana Devi had sustained a femur fracture which she would end up treating many times in her life. She thought the fracture would heal on its own, so she did not bother to treat it. Her negligence resulted in an improper fusion and chronic infection of the bone and left her unable to walk.
Her situation reached the ears of Urmila, a CORD worker. Urmila understood her desperation and brought Darshana Devi to CORD so she could obtain the necessary medications from the Out-Patient Dispensary. CORD also helped Darshana Devi procure other necessary items like books and a uniform that she could not provide for her son.
The doctors recommended that a metal rod be placed in her leg so she could walk properly. This procedure was too expensive for Darshana Devi. However, through CORD’s networks, Darshana Devi came in contact with Ms. Uma Shergill, a Trustee of the Chinmaya Tapovan Trust. Umaji asked her dear friend Dr. Sandhu, an orthopedic surgeon, if he could perform the operation. He gladly accepted and Umaji brought Darshana Devi to Khakkar Hospital in Amritsar. After receiving this medical attention, Darshana Devi was too poor to afford the post operation medications that were necessary for her recovery. She asked for help from her husband and in-laws but they refused. Umaji came to the rescue and paid for all of Darshana Devi’s surgery expenses and post-operative care.
After some time Darshana Devi was able to build up her strength and managed to be on crutches. Expecting a warm return, Darshana Devi decided to go back to her husband’s home. When she went home, her husband saw her condition and told her not to come back until she was healthy and able to work. Darshana Devi was shocked that her own husband would react in this way. She had done nothing wrong and could not understand his wish. After returning to her parents’ home with her son, Darshana Devi found herself jobless. Her husband had gotten remarried and started a new life, completely leaving behind his wife and son. Darshana Devi was devastated and was in no position physically or mentally to start a new life. She went back to the one place she could be comforted: the home of her parents.
Unable to support herself and her son, Darshana Devi turned to CORD. She started sewing training and trained for two and a half years at the CORD Center. Soon she began working at Guru Kripa, a tailoring store run by women who had been trained at the CORD Center. Her income increased significantly as she gained more work experience. Initially making 150 rupees per month, Darshana Devi started making 1500 rupees per month.
Darshana Devi lived peacefully for nine years making a steady income. However, this soon changed as her leg began to puss heavily and she needed medical attention immediately. She showed her leg to a doctor in Dharamsala, and he recommended that she go back to Amritsar to get the rod readjusted. Darshana Devi returned to Khakkar Hospital and had another surgery done by Dr. Sandhu. The doctor removed the metal rod and instead inserted a metal plate affixed with nine nails. This time, Darshana Devi was able to pay for a part of the surgery with some of her income. The rest of the expenses were provided by Umaji and Darshana Devi’s friends at CORD and Guru Kripa.
Darshana Devi is supporting herself through her work at Guru Kripa. With the help of the Informal Legal Cell at CORD, she was able to take her husband to court so that he would financially support their son. Darshana Devi’s association with CORD has not been limited to just one program, a reflection of CORD’s holistic approach to problem solving and capacity development. CORD makes sure to look into all components of the patient’s life. Currently, Darshana Devi is planning on building her own home on sanctioned government land. Despite her turbulent medical history, with the support of CORD, her friends at Guru Kripa, and other villagers, she has been able to rebuild her life and the life of her son.