Varanasi Children’s Hospital rents a single floor of a private hospital. In effect, two hospitals are run in a single building. This makes it cost effective as we can share staff, equipment and the utilities, such as electricity and water. Established in 2004, the hospital treats over one hundred and fifty children each year.
Last year we treated 60 critically ill children in the hospital and another 100 children with more minor illnesses, such as diarrhoea, cholera and dysentery, which untreated can lead to more serious conditions, even death. In the case of minor illnesses the children’s family are asked to pay for medication at the cost price; they are not charged for doctors, beds or any other auxiliary fees.
The children that we treat are referred by local doctors, because the families cannot afford to pay for treatment and without treatment they will die. The average wage of a person in India is €2 a day, there is no free public health system in the Varanasi region. The cost of medicine, although much less than in Ireland, is, relative to the daily wage, completely beyond the reach of 80% of the population.
We are a small project, we treat a tiny amount of the children in need in the Varanasi region.