General medical help
Paying for a prescription for Abhirami’s sick child
In India, someone who is sick and poor may be seen by a doctor without a charge, but they will then have to pay for any medicines that are prescribed. The poorest people are unable to do this. For many years, Tom Sutherland has helped such people by paying for their prescriptions. No money changes hands at this point; instead, Tom writes a short note to the pharmacist saying that he will pay. HHI then sends out money each month, which Tom uses to pay off the debt to the pharmacist. It seems a cumbersome and inefficient system, but it has the great advantage that it ensures that the patient gets their prescription (rather than spending money on something else) and it is not open to abuse. Typically the cost of the prescription is about £1, but to a poor Indian it is a lot of money which they cannot afford.
Other medical problems are more expensive. Besides heart problems (link) and immunosuppressant drugs (link) there are many other medical procedures which are expensive themselves, require expensive drugs, or need transport to and from the main hospital some distance away. Over the years we have paid for dialysis for kidney patients, ancillary medicines for children suffering from leukaemia, drugs for treating multi-drug resistant TB, amputation of a cancerous limb, treatment of burst blood vessels, nutritious drips for patients with a large hole in their stomach wall, plastic surgery for burns victims, and medicines to control epilepsy and for a whole host of other medical problems.
Vinod (left) had burst blood vessels in his arm and back. HHI provided life-saving surgery for him, available only in a private hospital.
There are many other people who are helped back to health by HHI. One of the more remarkable is Sanilkumar. Sanilkumar, a Hindu, fell off his motorcycle, fracturing his skull severely, and some of it had to be removed. Initially a plastic replacement was provided, whilst his original skull was kept in an incision by his stomach until it could be reattached. Unfortunately the plastic insert became infected and the original skull caused such severe hiccups that it had to be removed; an expensive titanium plate was needed to replace the plastic one, and HHI was able to help with the cost. For a time there was no improvement; but then he started to go to a church and to pray to Jesus, at which point healing started. As a result of this he has become a Christian.
Sanilkumar with his original skull and the first plastic replacement