ECTA International Holistic Health for the Himalayas

 

 

The Dr. Paul Brand Medical Scholarship Throughout the Himalayas, Governments have built Primary Health Centers in remote communities to decentralize health care and provide access to care in isolated regions. There are two major obstacles limiting the actual delivery of this care; 1) There aren’t enough doctors to staff these facilities and 2) The care provided is often substandard. What are the root causes of this situation? • Postings at hospitals in the city provide more opportunity for advancement and a lucrative private practice. • The vast majority of doctors in South Asia come from city families. Village families do not have access to the educational infrastructure, social networks or capital necessary to send their children to Medical School. City doctors are often unwilling to live in less comfortable rural environments. • In South Asia medical education is generally seen as a route for professional advancement rather than medium for social service. Medical practice is primarily seen as a route to power, wealth and prestige. As a result the care provided is often lacking in the quality and compassion that is seen when medicine is practiced as a vocation.
 All of these factors compound to make it nearly impossible for a village student to gain a seat in a Medical College… so the cycle continues year after year. Rural PHC’s remain empty and villages bear the toll in the form of poor community health. Despite all these challenges, many promising and aspiring village students try year after year to gain a seat. ECTA recognizes that it was necessary for these students to climb a mountain of obstacles to have even finished Class 12 in excellent standing. It is at this point which ECTA hopes to level the path ahead. Through a rigorous selection process based on academic standing, history of community service and spiritual integrity, ECTA plans to send these promising students to Medical School through the Dr. Paul Brand Medical Scholarship. In becoming a sponsored scholar, students will agree to a minimum of 5 years of service in a rural PHC’s after graduation. Additionally, ECTA will augment their medical education with a holistic mentoring program. This program will instill in each student a deep respect and commitment to community service which will last beyond the required period. As these students return to their villages as committed compassionate doctors, they will begin to break the cycles of ignorance and inequality which have long held isolated communities in the grip of poverty and poor health.
 ECTA believes that the LONG TERM SOLUTION to this health crisis is making Medical Education accessible to village students who demonstrate not only academic excellence but also a heart to serve their community. Village students do not quickly forget the conditions of their upbringing and are accustomed to the rigors of daily life in isolated regions. They carry in their hearts compassion for those living in remote regions. They have also “walked in those shoes”. These students naturally understand the need for quality health care and devoted practitioners at the village level. Despite these assets, few village students are able to access medical education due to inequitable competition by urban/affluent students. Village parents in the Himalayas, have to literally climb a mountain to even put their children through middle and high school. Many pay for school fees one liter of milk or one sack of potatoes at a time. Not even counting this toil, in the end parents will climb a mountain (at least once) to take their goods to market. Each rupee spent on education is paid for with countless drops of sweat. Village students face equally daunting obstacles. While city students arrive at school fresh, having only a short walk or bus ride, village students arrive exhausted after walking, sometimes hours, through valleys and over passes. Just as the best doctors remain in the city, the best teachers remain there as well depriving rural students of quality education.
Support the Dr. Paul Brand Medical Scholarship through the A Mountain To Pass fundraiser.

 

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