A Horton doctor who takes working holidays to help give people in India medical treatment is trying to raise £6,000 to buy them an ambulance.
Dr Robbie Kerry, a consultant anaesthetist at the Banbury hospital, goes out to India again in November, this time to run free clinics in deprived villages in the south of the country.
A commited Christian, Dr Kerry uses his own leave and money to fund his trips.
“I have seen patients presenting with all sorts of conditions including uncontrolled diabetes, mystery fevers as well as cases of cancers. The lack of ambulances is major issue that can reduce the effectiveness of my intervention, as often the closest hospital is more than ten miles away,” he said.
Many of Dr Kerry’s patients are from the Dalit (‘untouchable’) caste and have experienced significant discrimination and persecution all their lives.
“Providing basic medical care is secondary to the main impact our visits have, which is to show that their lives matter, we value them and they are certainly not untouchable,” he said.
Passionate about promoting social justice among the poorest and most underprivileged people groups, Dr Kerry visited India for the first time in 1997.
In 2000, with his colleague Mr Rajan Jayakumar, with whom Dr Kerry shares a strong Christian faith, he founded Nehemiah Ministries, a charity that looks after people in poverty, providing them with opportunities for education.
This work is combined with help from a non-governmental organisation called PALM-2, which aims to improve income generation, empower women and develop farm cooperatives.
Over the last five years Dr Kerry has been offering clinics to some of the poorest communities in India where access to healthcare is difficult and where people die from minor illnesses because they have no access to a doctor.
His work has taken him from tribal villages in the remote hills of Orissa in the north-east to Nagapattinam in southern India.
In these remote areas Dr Kerry’s clinics are always very well attended.
During the course of one day he might easily see 100 people who come to have their blood pressure checked, discuss their health problems or ask for explanations in simple terms of notes and letters received from local doctors.
Dr Kerry and his charity are focused on raising money to provide an ambulance to the poorest villages of the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka area.
“This would be a game changer for the community as it will improve their access to healthcare services,” he said.
To offer donations to Dr Kerry’s fund to buy a community ambulance, write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org