As a charitable hospital operating in Hanspukur and Sundarban, West Bengal, Humanity Hospital serves as a perfect model of affordable healthcare in a country like India where the majority of the population dwells in rural areas.
Subhasini Mistry, with her son Dr. Ajoy Kumar Mistry, is providing excellent service to mankind by providing free medical services to the poor. As a charitable hospital operating in Hanspukur and Sundarban, West Bengal, Humanity Hospital serves as a perfect model of affordable health-care in a country like India where the majority of the population dwells in rural areas.
Dearth of social security measures for the poor translates into the worst that they can bore in times of illness or a natural calamity. For a country that has earned a reputation of exporting the best medical professionals to the world, it is shocking to see a portion of its population yearn for basic and proper medical facilities. And yet, we see exemplars such as Mistry and her son Dr. Ajoy, who despite of all adversities take charge of change and advancement.
In April 1971, Mistry’s 35-year-old husband, a vegetable vendor in Hanspukur, died of a curable minor ailment, only because he could not receive the necessary medical attention. With the tragic death of the sole breadwinner of the family, Mistry had to step into her husband’s shoes and sell vegetables in that hamlet market, while raising four children. It was during those days of hardship that Mistry vowed to work towards building a hospital for the poor, so no one else had to suffer like her husband did. She took up work as a maid, did physical labour and even gave up two of her children in an orphanage for their better education and upbringing.
Recalling their days of struggle, Dr. Ajoy says, “Being orphan, all of us were forced to work to fill the belly and live. I had worked in a tea stall and as a house servant. My mother and elder siblings [were] doing all sorts of manual labour. Then my mother sent my
sister and me to a government home. Besides my self-studies, I used to make some money by teaching students and saved them to make the hospital.”
For the next three decades, Mistry was saving every cent she earned, with the only expenditure being her children’s education. In 1992, when she purchased one acre of land in Hanspukur and laid the foundation of Humanity Hospital by opening a clinic inside a tiny hut, local villagers stepped in with generous donations. These donations poured in, in the form of finance, building material, labour, and whatever was offerable.
On the first day itself, the temporary arrangement witnessed 252 patients. As the word spread out, doctors operating in the nearby regions started volunteering a few hours, and eventually the tiny clinic spread out to become a full-fledged hospital offering intensive medical care. Today, the hospital has branched out its name across India and abroad, and extended medical support to individuals that either cannot afford medical services or are kept aloof from basic medical services in their region.
“We have a team of about 30 doctors, 20 nurses and assistants, and 10 volunteers and members to manage all the activities,” Dr. Ajoy states proudly. “Most of our doctors, nurses & other staffs are not permanent/full-time employees as we can’t pay them as per market standard due to insufficiency of funds. We manage the events through the pool of human resource available.”
Recent statistics from various camps held by Humanity Hospital report 59,253 treatments conducted from April to September 2015. The hospital treats approximately 1,000 patients on a daily basis. A major surgery, which may mount up to thousands of dollars, costs merely $100 CAD or less, minor ailments are treatable with $0.20 CAD cent fee – for those that can afford to pay.
Dr. Ajoy shares some memories from his struggling childhood saying, “I almost cannot remember my father, but after he passed by, I remember, we all had starved for whole day for many days. In the tea stall, ill treatment from all the sides perhaps made me stubborn to become what I am now. The few teachers and mentor cum guide in my study period, were a boon for me, without whom the small boy could not become Dr. Ajoy.”
Currently operating in Hanspukur and Sunderban, the charitable hospital survives on donations, which does not include any sort of support from the government. Despite the small staff and lack of funds for infrastructure and development, the dedicated team at Humanity Hospital has surpassed in accomplishing Mistry’s mission – placing service before profit.
As Dr. Ajoy puts it, “Nobody will be deprived of medical services here. Even patients that are able to pay are charged very nominally, so it is ‘HUMANITY HOSPITAL’.”