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NZ Joins Forces with India to Transform Slums

New Zealand Joins Forces with India to Transform Slums

Influential humanitarian, Dr Kiran Martin responsible for transforming many of Delhi slums, will be in New Zealand next week to launch an exciting new joint project with the New Zealand Government, Kiwi company Medtech, and TEAR Fund.

The aim of the multi-million dollar project is to deliver cost-effective health treatment to slum dwellers in Delhi, and free-up local hospitals to deal with serious cases.

TEAR Fund’s Rob Reynolds says, “We are excited to have Dr Martin here in New Zealand; she is an amazing woman who has impacted the lives of thousands of India’s poorest”.

“Twenty-five years ago the idealistic young doctor, borrowed a rickety table in a filthy Delhi slum to open her first clinic in order to fight a cholera outbreak. From these humble beginnings, she established the Asha Society, which is now giving hope to about 400,000 people living in more than 50 slum colonies in Delhi.”

Dr Martin’s organisation, Asha Society, has had a long association with New Zealand. Prime Minister John Key visited the organisation in 2011, and Asha has had a lot of support through the New Zealand High Commission in Delhi. It has also been supported by TEAR Fund NZ for more than 20 years.

Mr Reynolds says this new project will feature the technology and expertise of New Zealand tech company, Medtech, to provide telemedicine consultations remotely to two Delhi slums. “Patients can visit the telemedicine hubs for diagnosis and get treatment, and be prescribed medication at Asha’s community health centres. The more serious conditions can be referred to a hospital.” He says this will help unclog the hospital system and allow health professionals to concentrate on serious cases, radically reducing waiting times.

More about Asha and Dr Kiran Martin

·         In 2002, Dr Martin’s achievements were recognised by the Indian Government when she was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest civilian awards.

·         Asha’s visitors have included, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, the Governor General of New Zealand, Mr Anand Satyanand, former Australian Prime Minister, Ms Julia Gillard, the First Lady of Japan, Mrs Miyuki Hatoyama, as well as Cabinet Ministers from Ireland, the UK, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

·         The slum housing model that Dr Martin developed in the 1990s has been widely praised, and accompanied innovative work in women’s empowerment and primary and secondary education.

·         Asha provides medical care, women’s empowerment, savings and loans groups, income generation opportunities, human rights training, helps secure land tenure for slum dwellers, improves slum development and fosters education, which has seen hundreds of children from slums go onto to tertiary studies.

·         Asha's slums have witnessed remarkable changes in health, equity and standard of living. Among the highlights has been the decline in the infant mortality rate. It has dropped from 53.6 per 1000 live births in 2003 to 16.9 in 2010-11. This compares to 33.0 in 2009 across the National Capital Territory of Delhi.  Child mortality has declined from 49.0 in 2004 to 17.8 in 2010-11. This compares to 46.7 in 2005-06 across Delhi.

ENDS

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