Chhatarpur Christian Hospital

Untouchable Man Is Touched by EHA's Care

He belonged to the untouchable community. Khilaiya Ahirwar was a 65-year-old man who suffered a fall five years ago and became paralyzed on the left side of his body. With no one who knew how to help him, he was living an isolated life, bedridden and incontinent.

Then the Palliative Care Team at Chhatarpur Christian Hospital heard about Khilaiya and stepped in to help. They immediately cared for his physical needs and began to build a rapport with him and his family. The team taught his family some exercises to do with Khilaiya, and they encouraged his wife to massage his limbs with oil. Chhatarpur's occupational therapist visited Khilaiya and gave him therapy to encourage mobility and taught him how to improve his diet for better health.

After spending time listening to his concerns about being lonely and unwanted, the team prayed with him and shared with him about God. Khilaiya is very grateful whenever the Palliative Care Team visits him, and he has begun to pray for himself and his family members. By reaching out to an "untouchable," EHA has made all the difference in the life of this one man.

Nutrition Education Brings the Gift of Life

As parents, we want the best for our children, and not being able to provide the basics for them is devastating. After the loss of their home due to flooding and a lack of food during this harrowing time, Amar and Niraj were distressed to see their youngest turn to skin and bones. Sahel was only 18 months old, and he developed a fever and diarrhea, resulting in Severe Acute Malnutrition, or SAM.

The Community Coordinator for Chhatarpur Christian Hospital's Mother and Child Health Project made numerous visits to the family and recommended that Niraj take Sahel to the Nutrition Rehabilitation Center (NRC) in a nearby village. She knew that Sahel needed medical care in order to return to a healthy weight. But Sahel's grandmother refused to allow his mother to take him in, instead taking him to black magicians and giving offerings at temples. Sabel continued to deteriorate, and his parents feared for his survival.

After the Project Officer visited the family again, Niraj took matters into her own hands and insisted on taking Sabel to the center. The nutritionists admitted him for three weeks. During this time, the Mother and Child Health Project Staff visited them daily. Niraj followed the instructions of the NRC staff and took excellent care of Sabel. Slowly but surely Sahel began to turn around and show some promising signs. He gained five and a half pounds during his time at the center. When they returned home, Sabel's grandmother was quite surprised to see the dramatic change in his health, and now she is grateful to Chhatarpur's Mother and Child Health Project Team and the NRC team.

After Sahel's success, Niraj was motivated to educate other mothers in her village on nutrition. Three more village children have since been admitted to the NRC, and many more families are willing to look into it, thanks to Sahel and his story.

Villagers Gain Rights and Respect

The tiny village of Bhagwantpura is mostly made up of Dalits (untouchables), but they have always been dominated by the high caste Thakurs. The Dalits have been deprived of their rights for decades, including healthcare. Their access to government officials was limited by those of higher caste, and any government funds sent to the village were siphoned off by the upper castes. The Dalits believed that nothing good could ever happen in their little village.

The village was supposed to have a health facility called the Anganwadi Center, but the leader was supported by the upper castes, so there was no care for the Dalits. Into this challenging situation came the Community Health Team from Chhatarpur Christian Hospital. They began to build relationships with community members, village leaders, and village level health workers. Initially, there was a backlash from the upper caste, but over time, two mothers groups and a Mother and Child Health Forum were begun.

These groups began discussing the poor health situation and facilities in the village. Since there was no building available, government midwives began administering immunizations under a tree. The Mother and Child Health Forum Secretary took the initiative to report the lack of an Anganwadi Health Center to the authorities. After investigation, the authorities fired the upper caste manager of the center and appointed a forum member from the Dalit community to run it. Initially, his life was threatened by the Thakurs and he had to leave the village for two weeks, but the Community Health Workers and villagers supported him, and he was able to return.

Together, these support groups requested that the district authority provide them with a building for medical care. Temporarily, they were given use of part of the government school building while a new building could be readied. The village children are getting the care they need and babies are being delivered safely, dropping the infant mortality rate from four to zero.

But more than all this, the Dalits have overcome their fear of the upper castes which has been ingrained in them for centuries. The Thakurs have finally lost their stranglehold on the village, and everyone has equal opportunity for health care.

Patience and Perseverance Bring Healing

Rajesh came in to Chhatarpur Christian Hospital after suffering from chest pain, fever, and a cough for four months. Despite consulting with  multiple doctors during that time, he had no idea what was wrong.

After examination, the EHA doctors determined that the entire right side of his chest was filled with pus, and a tube was immediately inserted to begin to drain it. Tests showed that he had TB as well, and he was started on anti-tuberculous medication.

Dangerously ill, Rajesh should have been rushed to thoracic surgery at a more specialized facility, but he had no means to pay for such care. Even when the EHA doctors pitched in money so that he could go to the Christian Medical College in Vellore, and the cardiothoracic doctors there agreed to operate for free, Rajesh still couldn't make the trip because he had no relatives to travel with him. He was the sole breadwinner for his younger siblings and his ailing parents.

So Rajesh and the Chhatarpur doctors settled in for long-term treatment. After ten long months, his pus production and drainage stopped, and the doctors were able to remove the tube. During this entire time, the medical staff were able to share about God with Rajesh, and he began attending church and praying regularly. The doctors consider his healing to be a miracle, as he really needed a cardiothoracic surgeon to manage his case. But God healed Rajesh, and today he attends the local church and is an active participant in their youth meetings.

Delivering Support Via Motor Bike

Stricken with polio as a child, Basant Ahirwar belongs to a lower caste and has not had a lot of formal education. Not one to sit around because of his disability, Basant learned mobile handset repair in a nearby village and supported himself by fixing electronics.

Meanwhile, Basant learned about Chhatarpur's Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Project which was working among people with disabilities. He expressed a desire to join as a volunteer, working with the disabled in his own region. After learning about the rights of the disabled, he began traveling from village to village on his modified motor bike. He formed groups of people with disabilities, made them aware of the help available to them, and played a vital role in helping them access government facilities and programs.

Despite having to deal with his own mobility issues, Basant has made an enormous difference in the lives of many people struggling with all kinds of disabilities. So often the poor and illiterate just need an advocate to work between them and the government to help them access the care and services they have available to them. Going from village to village, Basant delivers the support they need via motor bike.

God At Work...

Dr. Christopher's Story

Dr. Christopher Lasrado serves as chief medical officer at Chhatarpur Christian Hospital. Last September he was suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor. The following account of his experience is in his own words, and captures his gratitude at the Lord’s strength and provision during this time. We trust you will be encouraged by this glimpse into the Lord’s work in one of EHA’s key leaders.
"It was on a Sunday in the second week of September when my colleagues and I detected a significant gap in my memory of events in the last year. On consultation with Dr. Monica Chandy, I underwent a CT scan of my brain, which revealed a large non-cancerous brain tumor. Despite the size and position of the tumor, I had no headaches in the last several years and functioned normally, oblivious of this growth inside my head.

I was put on the fast track of the work-up for surgery. On reaching Chennai, I was picked up by colleagues and old classmates from St. John's who helped me get to CMC Vellore at their expense. The surgery was scheduled for the 23rd of September; the surgeon, Dr.Ari Chacko, is the chief of Unit 2 Neurosurgery. The day of surgery and immediately prior to that saw a stream of friends and well-wishers visit, pray for me, and encourage me. The moment I was being moved to the operating room, a pastor who had come all the way from Mangalore (having heard of my illness), reached the hospital just in time to pray for me. He spent the rest of the day at the MUT (Missionaries Uphold Trust) rest house, fasting and praying through the surgery (the pastor is the father of a medical student whose medical studies in Mangalore are financially sponsored by Chhatarpur Christian Hospital).  

When I had the opportunity to ask the pastor what made him come, he told me he had a very clear prompting from the Lord, telling him to "go and pray!" I was also amazed at how the Lord had worked out everything for my care. The people who were involved in the management of my illness were people I had met or spoken to several times over the years, or were indirectly known to me. I felt I was among family.

The surgery that was expected to last about 14 hours was done in 10 hours time. The surgeon managed to remove about 60% of the tumor. The remaining 40% was out of reach or too dangerous to touch, and has been left behind for radiotherapy. I'm convinced that the Lord has a very specific purpose for me vis-à-vis this illness. Never for a moment did I fear for my life or feel sorry for myself.

I had always felt like a shepherd/ father to my staff and students. I love them dearly. What I did not realize was that they too loved me dearly. The brokenness that I saw on their faces when I broke the news to them, and the turn-out to say goodbye the night I was leaving Chhatarpur were both evidence of this love. I must have hugged over 200 weeping people that night. Many of them assured me that God would bring me back soon. Through the surgery and postoperative week, my staff and students fasted and prayed for my healing.  

The postoperative course, to say the least, was uneventful. I had no neurological deficits or significant memory loss. I was walking in two day's time. I was discharged after a week. I started moving out of the house independently after two weeks, and at the end of the month I would walk 4 to 5 km at a stretch, in addition to doing physical fitness exercises.

My family was easily convinced that I was fit enough to return to Chhatarpur. I arrived at back at the hospital on a Sunday morning [the 26th of October],to a joyful welcome from staff and students. I started work on Monday. It was amazing the way my knowledge and skill has remained untouched by the surgery. I am discussing cases with my colleagues as before. At the time of writing this story I have already tried my hand at two surgeries and in a short while will work with another surgeon over some more surgeries.

Most of all I feel good to be back with my staff, students, and EHA family. I praise and thank the Lord for being my Good Shepherd through this dark valley. Only now has it dawned on me as to how dangerous and difficult the surgery was, and how miraculously unscathed I have come out of it. My gratitude goes out to my EHA family and all of the Lord's people all over the world, who were praying and interceding for me through this difficult time."

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Christopher Lasrado

The Lord Blesses a Couple at...
Chhatarpur Christian Hospital

They just wanted to have a baby. For four years they had suffered miscarriage after

Ghamandi, Parwati, and Laxmi
miscarriage. A Community Health and Development staff worker visited them and suggested they consult Dr. Shalini Ninan at Chhatarpur Christian Hospital. Ghamandi and Parwati had visited other hospitals, but they agreed to the appointment. After the visit, Parwati became pregnant again, and visited the hospital each month to continue treatment. With each passing month, their hope grew. Finally, Parwati safely delivered little Laxmi and their mourning was turned to dancing.

Through Nutrition Counseling...
EHA Helps a Child's Development

Geeta and Pankaj 

Mothers watch their babies' development closely, and if they seem small, worry develops. Geeta's eighth child, Pankaj, weighed only six and a half pounds by two years of age. She took him to a nurse for a consultation, and was educated in how to give a high calorie diet to him to help his development. She was also encouraged to go to the district Nutrition Rehabilitation Center, where they stayed for two weeks, receiving good food and care. Over the next seven months, Pankaj gained nine more pounds. Helping the poor understand good nutrition is one practical way EHA works to meet the needs of those around them.

About Chhatarpur Christian Hospital

In 1930, missionaries from the Friends Foreign Missionary Society founded Chhatarpur Christian Hospital to serve the needy women and children in the backward Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh. Today Chhatarpur Christian Hospital is a 100-bed, full-service healthcare facility that provides care in general medicine, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, outpatient, dentistry, ophthalmology, and surgery. The facility hosts a nursing school where they train students from various parts of North India for future service as nurses, many at Chhatarpur Christian Hospital as well as other EHA hospitals. EHA is grateful for the way their nurses care with love and compassion for those entrusted to their care.

The hospital’s mission is to transform the people of Bundelkhand through the provision of good healthcare at an affordable cost, nursing training, and community-based development initiatives. They seek to spread the Good News to their patients and the surrounding community through caring concern and sharing His Word.

On an average day, the outpatient department handles over one hundred patients, and on a busy day, they may treat up to two hundred. Over the course of a year, Chhatarpur will treat over 6,000 patients. They have special service areas including a labor room, a nursery, and an operating theater, as well as wards for men, women, and eye patients. Hospital staff deliver close to 2,000 babies each year, and about half of these deliveries are complicated ones, with a resultant c-section rate of 20 percent. They conduct several thousand eye surgeries each year, mostly for cataracts, and hold eye camps in remote locations to provide diagnoses for those who cannot travel easily. Those needing surgery are offered referrals to Chhatarpur Christian Hospital. The hospital staff regularly treat infectious diseases like TB, malaria, and typhoid, and they frequently care for pediatric cases of meningitis and encephalitis.

The Prerana Community Health Development Project is a significant extension of these ministries based in Chhatarpur. It spearheads many initiatives designed to improve the health and living conditions of over 37,000 people in 33 different surrounding villages. The Tele-Clinic Project trains Accredited Social Health Activists, Auxiliary Nurse Midwives, and Anganwadi Workers to establish community monitoring systems, to build knowledge of prevalent diseases, and to develop systems to ensure sanitary water. They treat people for simple illnesses, contact Chhatarpur Christian Hospital for emergencies, and request ambulances. The School Health Program has taught thousands of school children about common illnesses, good personal hygiene, and the importance of safe water and sanitation. EHA has learned that children often are effective "teachers" of their parents and extended family.

Through all of these programs, Chhatarpur Christian Hospital seeks to improve the lives of the surrounding villagers, enabling them to promote healthy habits and thus to prevent much of their illnesses, all while reaching out to them in love.


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