Friends of Vellore works closely with several departments at CMC to initiate and sustain  programmes targeted at helping poor and disadvantaged people. CMC subsidises treatment for poorer patients using the proceeds of the private patient work. Each department has discretion to waive some fees but still needs outside contributions to acquire equipment or fund new initiatives. New project proposals are scrutinised by our Trustees to ensure they meet our criteria and have sustainable benefits.

At any time Friends of Vellore will have many programmes running. On the pages under the Projects menu you can see where our money is currently going. We aim to help the poorest and most vulnerable. All require ongoing funding and your help and support would be most welcome. If you would like your donation to go to a particular project or area of our work, please let us know.  We are also very happy to receive unspecified donations that we can direct to where the money is most needed.

Below is a brief overview of our main project areas (the bold links will take you to more information):

The Person to Person (PTP) scheme is used to provide small targeted grants (up to Rs 10,000 or approximately £100) to help pay the hospital bill for specific patients who are unable to pay for their treatment. Donors who give to this scheme receive reports directly from CMC on which patients their donation has helped.

A grateful recipient of the PTP scheme

We fund several projects at the Rural Unit of Health and Social Affairs (RUHSA) including elderly care centres, the Pachaikili children’s play centre and farmers’ clubs. For the last two years we have been funding a project to try to address the issue of suicide amongst teenagers by providing an environment for them to discuss issues that they may not feel able to at home. We are also funding a project that is screening for developmental delay in children and training parents and other care givers in caring for those children.

Elderly Care Centre

The Low Cost Effective Care Unit works in the slums of Vellore. Here we are funding community health workers who are reaching out to many who would not otherwise access the services of LCECU. The health workers provide health education and health care for expectant mothers, children, the elderly and disabled, those with chronic diseases and acute illness. They run clinics and identify those with disease or illness that need referring on to LCECU.

Consulting the local area

The Jawadhi Hills is a tribal area south of Vellore with little access to healthcare. We are supporting two students from the Jawadhi Hills in their nursing training. We are also funding ten health workers who are young people from the Jawadhi Hills who CMC have trained to work as health aides – visiting the villagers, offering health advice and making referrals where necessary.

Health visiting in Jawadhi

We have close links with CMC’s Missions Department who are continuing in their efforts to help revive three mission hospitals. One of which is Kotagiri Medical Fellowship Hospital (KMF). This is about 7 hours drive to the west of Vellore. The hospital has been growing steadily, with improved services and increasing patient numbers. New staff have joined and gradually the locals are gaining confidence in using the patient services. Earlier this year we sent £30,000 to enable them to purchase much needed equipment for their lab.

New lab equipment at KMF

Each year we send funds to support the palliative home care team. Our grant covers fuel costs, medication and basic supplies to enable home visits to those in the last stages of their life.

Dr Reena with a patient

Friends of Vellore UK are partnering with Friends of Vellore Australia and the USA to raise funds to buy a mobile ophthalmic unit. The mobile ophthalmic unit will travel to cover populations with poor access to healthcare within Vellore and the neighbouring districts. The mobile unit will be used to screen for eye disease in children and adults. It will particularly screen for diabetic retinopathy (a blinding complication of uncontrolled diabetes) and provide laser treatment on the spot for those requiring it.

CMC’s ophthalmology team

We also particularly support projects that benefit children. We have just completed three years of funding for an Occupational Therapist, Dinesh, who works in Paediatric surgery. We are delighted that having seen the efficacy of this post, CMC have now absorbed it into their ongoing budget. We are currently funding the treatment of 2 patients whose family are unable to afford the cost of their surgery for myelomeningocele. We have also sent money to fund an audiologist to screen for children with hearing difficulties.

Dinesh with a patient