Children hospital and village health programmes


St. Mary's Child and Mother Health Care Centre

The 40-bedded hospital for children and mothers provides medical care mainly to the Santal children from the rural area around Bolpur. Mostly malnourished children with diarrhea, bronchitis and pneumonia are treated, who are found out during OPD or village visits with medical checkup. Furthermore, children with neurological disorders and many TB children receive medical care. 

Allopathic, ayurvedic and homeopathic medicines are used depending on the severity of the sickness. Besides curative treatment preventive health care is offered including trainings for mothers and village health workers on nutrition, hygiene, child and mother health as well as vegetable plantation.

The modern and clean hospital is equipped with an own pharmacy and pathology unit. By the end of 2013 also X-ray facilities, ultrasonography and delivery ward will be ready.We are looking for gynecologists and pediatric doctors to join us in our children hospital. The hospital is run mutually by the Carmelite Teresian Convent (CTC) and Shining Eyes.

Nutrition programmes

As malnutrition is the main hindrance to a healthy development of Santal children, we introduced village based nutrition programmes in 2007. All malnourished children under three years as well as pregnant and lactating women receive a nutritious meal with nuts, dates, milk and vegetable, fruit, egg or meat trice a week. Mothers learn to prepare healthy food.

They understand why nutrients like vitamins, proteins and minerals are needed for their children to grow, stay healthy and learn properly at school later in life. Hand washing is practiced and the families are supported to cultivate kitchen gardens with own vegetables or keeping ducks, respectively. Hence, the hygiene and nutrition situation changes and the foundation is laid for a healthy development of the children.

Hygiene improvements

While living in the Santal village, Dr. Monika Golembiewski has seen how many sicknesses are transmitted during open defecation and especially women suffer from various health problems due to taking bath in the pond. We assist the villagers in building up their own community washing house with toilet and bathroom where women can wash themselves with clean water from the tube well. 

After a phase of minor irritation, now villagers queue up in the morning to do their toilet. Thus, hygiene habits change and mothers are trained for instance to keep the finger nails of their children short, to clean the hands with soap before eating and to drink sufficient clean water.

Tuberculosis screening

Still too many children suffer from TB. Spine and lymph node TB as well as TB meningitis are most common in children who had contact to adults with lung TB earlier in their life. Often these children miss needed preventive medicines. Therefore we have trained our Shining Eyes team members to screen the villages for children in need of TB prevention medicines.

Recently, more and more children with acute TB use to come to our hospital and we can do the diagnostic for them to decide how and where to continue the treatment for them. We are thankful to our cooperation partners like the German Doctors in Kolkata to give these helpless children the medical care they need to survive.

Health awareness

Another main point is too raise awareness about health, hygiene and nutrition. With drawings in Santal culture we explain about diarrhea or how TB spreads out while coughing, respectively. We sit together with the mothers and listen to their experiences. Together we think how to stabilize their childrens' health and how to react if a child suffers from watery stool or a pregnant women is too weak to continue working. 

In our hospital, we offer a weekly nutrition and newborn day where mothers are invited for training and mutual cooking and eating. Moreover, our village health workers are trained on a weekly basis to find out the sick children and mothers in their villages and to assist their community to keep clean the houses, grow own vegetables and prevent unnecessary infections and sicknesses.