The Wai Mission Hospital was founded in 1908 by an American missionary physician in the town of Wai in the Satar District of South India. Wai, situated on the banks of the Holy Krishna River, is a historical town and a place of pilgrimage for Hindus. The Wai Mission Hospital pioneered the health care system in Wai and the surrounding villages, and today it serves as the primary health care facility in this area of 12,000 people. The hospital has been a Global Ministries partner for many years.
Global Ministries currently is raising funds to support the hospital’s Women’s Health and Development Project. The goal of the project is to improve women’s health and to reduce infant mortality by providing health and nutrition education and regular childhood immunizations. This project will address the alarmingly high infant and child mortality rates in India. In 1998, the World Health Organization estimated that 2.5 million children in India died before age five. This is the highest infant mortality rate in the world. Health programs have started to reduce these rates, but much work is yet to be done.
The project also will empower women by connecting them with other services and programs in the community. Such programs will include literacy classes, support and advocacy groups on women’s development issues, vocational training, and a micro-loan and grant program to provide start-up and expansion costs for women-owned businesses. These programs will work to combat the significant gender disparities facing women in India today and empower women to become more independent.
This project will be staffed by a social worker, a trained nurse, and community health volunteers. A physician and his mobile medical unit will conduct a clinic in the community twice a week. This is a critical piece of the project, as there are 51 physicians for every 100,000 people in India, making access to physicians difficult if not impossible.
As a direct result of the Wai Mission Hospital’s Women’s Health and Development Project, we anticipate the following outcomes:
- Reduced infant and child mortality rates in the town of Wai and surrounding villages
- Improvement in women’s health and their ability to provide care for their children
- Increased access to programs and services that empower women to break the cycle of poverty
- Progress on equalizing gender and health disparities suffered by women and children in Wai and surrounding villages.