Karuna Trust

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Karuna Trust

Right from the time it was founded, Karuna Trust has been dedicated to “reaching the unreached” and improving public healthcare in rural India through partnerships with the government and the public sector. Its first such project was with the Government of Karnataka, which entrusted the organisation to run a Public Health Centre (PHC) in Chamarajanagar district.

Since then, Karuna Trust has distinguished itself in this field: turning poorly-equipped and low-performing PHCs and converting them into model health centres for primary health care. So far, the Trust has managed more than 70 PHCs in 7 states across India, serving over 1.5 million people. It has also set up two mobile health units, an eye hospital and a first-referral unit with more than 2,000 healthcare professionals serving the poor.

In addition to providing primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare through various public-private partnership projects, Karuna Trust also focuses on integrating education, ecology and livelihoods work in its model for empowering marginalised people. For instance, its PHCs function on solar and renewable energy, which is particularly helpful in remote and hilly areas. On the education front, it provides scholarships to economically backward medical students and has given out 128 scholarships so far.

The project supported by MFE:

Boat Clinic

This one-year project aims to set up a mobile “boat clinic” or floating hospital for the tribal and rural communities living along the banks of the Brahmaputra river in Assam’s Biswanath and Lakhimpur districts. The primary health services to be provided in the boat clinic include everything from dental health, eye care and ultrasound services.

One of the main goals of this project is to conduct a baseline survey of the infant mortality rate among the target communities, and bring down the IMR by at least 10% in one year. To achieve this, the floating hospital will be further supported by setting up a 10-bed base camp clinic and wellness centre at Barangabari village. This is where patients in need of emergency treatment facilities will be referred to by the boat clinic.

Karuna Trust also aims to operate a four-wheel ambulance service to transport patients from the boat clinic to the base camp clinic, and also to higher health centres if required. It also aims to conduct mass awareness programmes among the local communities about preventative healthcare.

The project also involves installing and running a 5 kilowatt solar energy plant on the boat clinic, so that its equipment and procedures are always run on renewable energy.