Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Ekam in ToI, Mumbai: Lifeline for 117 kids as NGO backs ops

Lifeline for 117 kids as NGO backs ops

MUMBAI: On July 5, Purava was operated on at Bandra's Holy Family Hospital for a congenital heartdisease. As she prances around happily, her mother cannot thank Chennai-based NGO Ekam enough. "The NGO arranged Rs 1 lakh of the total Rs 1.2 lakh surgery cost," says her mother Neha Khamkar.Ekam representatives contacted her through Purava's anganwadi in Govandi. The operation was conducted within 15 days.

Purava is one of 117 beneficiaries of Ekam's pilot project in Chembur, Govandi and Kurla. The NGO, which has extended its services to Mumbai with this intervention, is aided by donation platform GiveIndia.

Philanthropist Ameeta Chatterjee worked with GiveIndia to help Ekam access its funds. She, along with contributions from other benefactors in Mumbai, financed the endeavour. "The project seeks to bridge the gap between the voluntary and corporate sectors," she said. Previously, beneficiaries-poor families-could get their children to private hospitals only as a last resort. "Even then, if recovery was not instant, they would move the child back to a government hospital to limit spending on a lost cause," said Ekam founder Dr Sailakshmi Balijepalli.

Apart from organizing operations for children, Ekam purchases medicines for pediatric patients. It also arranges for high-end equipment like incubators for infants operated on for heart complications. "Such socially beneficial efforts don't always get financial backing they need. Our aim is to help such effective non-profit organizations get funds," said GiveIndia's DeepaVardrajan, who is associated with the NGO's city entry.

The NGO has both private and government hospitals in its network of 100 hospitals in Tamil Nadu. It hopes to get funding from government schemes such as the 
proposed National Urban Health Mission for its interventions in both Tamil Nadu and Mumbai.

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