tribal people

Mahan Trust: a medical NGO bringing medical care into the forests of Melghat

MARGINALIZED tribal communities lack access to basic essentials such as education, resources and medical care. In the forested area of Melghat in Maharashtra, there are no hospitals, trained doctors or even a medical NGO for over 100 kilometers. The people who reside in these areas are tribal communities who have long been overlooked. Without proper medical care, their only option is to rely on traditional medicine men or witch doctors, whose treatment often worsens their condition. In such a situation, the tribals living in this area are forced to suffer from conditions and diseases that are preventable and curable. 

Mahan Trust is a medical NGO that started operations in the Melghat area in 1997. Back then, Dr. Ashish Satav and Dr. Kavita Satav witnessed the suffering of the people in this area and vowed to do something about it. From a small and dilapidated hut, they began to bring medical attention to the people of the area. As word spread about this medical NGO in Melghat, more and more people started to come to their small hut and have their conditions and diseases treated by the couple who gave up successful careers to serve the tribal people of Melghat. 

From a small hut to a fully-functional hospital

“Just one visit to Melghat convinced me that I cannot let these people die, I cannot let these families be destroyed. The extent of their suffering was unimaginable,” shares Dr. Ashish. This heart of compassion is what made Dr. Ashish and Dr. Kavita of the medical NGO leave behind their successful careers in medicine and relocate to Melghat to help the tribal communities in the area after a lifetime of no access to medical care and attention. Since the nearest medical center was over one hundred kilometers away, most of the people in these tribal communities had no option to travel for medical help. Instead, the only thing they could do was take whatever option was available to them and hope for the best. To support Mahan Trust, you can donate here.

From that small hut that opened in 1997, Mahan Trust is a medical NGO that grew into a fully-functional hospital that has served lakhs of patients including serious cases that require advanced treatment and surgeries. The Mahatma Gandhi Tribal Hospital has an outpatient department, an indoor operation theater and a critical care unit. Over the years, specialist doctors have treated patients in the hospital and there are also medical camps organized that cater to patients’ specific needs. For those patients who require advanced treatment, the medical NGO organizes specialist diagnostic and treatment camps in the areas of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Pediatrics, Ophthalmology, ENT, Pathology and other areas. 

a man holding a baby

The desperate need for a medical NGO in Melghat

“The geography of this area is such that the nearest critical care facility is far away. The tribal villagers can not even afford two proper meals, they can’t even dream about traveling this far and paying for costly treatment. Once the mother of a newborn baby told me that she would let her child die as opposed to traveling to get treatment. Because he would have to leave her other three healthy children behind with no one to provide for them. Under these circumstances, Mahan Trust is the only hope for lakhs of people. I can say this with some confidence that had our hospital not been there, countless people would have lost their lives to treatable diseases,” explains Dr. Ashish.

From the time that Mahan Trust has brought medical care into the Melghat area, the health of the people has improved and there has been a drastic reduction in the health conditions and diseases that previously plagued the people of the area. The medical NGO has seen a 75% reduction in malnutrition, 68% reduction in the child mortality rate and a 50% reduction in the adult mortality rate. In addition to this, tens of thousands of people are experiencing improved eye health and other conditions.

Saving lives, until the last breath 

“If we didn’t start this hospital, then thousands of people would die. Young people would die, pregnant women would die, babies would die. We at Mahan Trust are committed to saving lives until the last breath no matter how serious the patient is and whether we have the resources or not. There are hundreds of people who are orphans, who are helpless. The people here are poor tribals, so we treat them all free of cost whether it is a critical illness or a surgery. We have been able to save thousands and lakhs of lives, but we need your help to save more. I request all the people of India and around the world to come forward and help the poor tribal people of Melghat.” This is the heartfelt plea from Dr. Ashish who, along with his wife Dr. Kavita, has spent decades serving the people in this poor tribal area. 

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