Volunteer for a two-week placement in India

Equal Health's India 2019 Camp, will be held Friday 1 February to Sunday 17 February 2019 (inclusive).

Placements are available for Optometrists, Nurses, G.Ps, Dentists, Dental Nurses, Physiotherapists and O.Ts in various locations in India including Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. 

Imagine not being able to go to the doctor when you're unwell or the dentist when you have a toothache. This is the reality many people in India face who simply don't have access to every day health services that most Australians take for granted.

Opportunities for short term meaningful and life changing travel experiences are now available for health professionals who wish to volunteer their skills, to help underprivileged people access health care in rural India.

It's amazing the difference a pair of glasses, dental care or health care can make to someone's life. Bringing freedom from dental pain and improved health are what Equal Health works hard to achieve each year.

According to our team of health professionals and from leaders in communities we serve, Equal Health's programs can be life changing, both for the people we serve and our volunteers.

Read experiences of previous volunteers.

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India – team based in Anandaniketan

Allied Health

Allied Health volunteer positions are available at Anandaniketan- Society for Mental Health Care in West Bengal. Placements are also available in the mobile outreach programs for musculoskeletal physiotherapists. Anandaniketan is a not for profit organisation that provides residential care to 350 children, adolescents and adults. The residents mostly have physical, mental and/or intellectual disabilities, and many are orphans. Equal Health's team of health professionals work alongside the management, staff and residents of Anandaniketan to: Bring freedom of movement and the benefits of play for people and children with disabilities through occupational therapy and physiotherapy. Improve the health of people with a mental illness through psychology. Support parents, carers and teachers of children with disabilities. Musculoskeletal physiotherapists also have the opportunity to work as part of the medical team both within Anandaniketan and on mobile outreach programs. Equal Health allied health professionals make a significant contribution to enhancing independent functioning, self worth, dignity, respect, and improvement of quality of life for the Anandaniketan residents.

Special Needs Education

Positions for special needs teachers are available at Anandaniketan - Society for Mental Health Care in West Bengal.

Anandaniketan is a not for profit organisation that provides residential care to 350 children, adolescents and adults. The residents mostly have physical, mental and/or intellectual disabilities, and many are orphans.

Anandaniketan also has a school that provides education for children with special needs, a cancer detection and management centre and a training institute offering diploma and degree studies in intellectual disability.

Special education primary school teachers work with Equal Health allied health volunteers to support Anandaniketan teachers in their work through training and sharing of knowledge and skills. Individual Education Plans are developed for students as part of the process.

Medical, Dental and Optical

Positions for a paediatric practitioner, general nurse, dentist and dental nurse are available at Anandaniketan - Society for Mental Health Care in West Bengal.

Anandaniketan is a not for profit organisation that provides residential care to 350 children, adolescents and adults. The residents mostly have physical, mental and/or intellectual disabilities, and many are orphans.

The medical and dental team work together providing with the staff and carers at Anandaniketan, to provide regular health and dental checks for the residents.

The paediatric medical team work with local staff and health professionals to assess the physical conditions of paediatric and young-adult residents, diagnose and plan appropriate patient treatment with local staff and health professionals, work alongside Equal Health allied health volunteers in assessing, monitoring and planning interventions for children and young people in Anandaniketan, provide support and instruction on preparing and maintaining client records and files and educating and training locals in appropriate skill sets that are sustainable in the absence of the Equal Health Team. The dental team provides dental consultations, treatment and treatment planning for Anandaniketan residents and the optical team provides eye examinations and spectacles for residents where necessary.

India – Outreach team

Optical

The optical team consists of optometrists, optical dispensers and ophthalmologists. The optical team work with local Indian partner agencies - Rajan Eye Care Hospital, RNH Eye Hospital, SEVAI, and Anandaniketan - to: Test eyes. Provide spectacles. Provide free cataract surgery in Tamil Nadu. Australian ophthalmologists work alongside local ophthalmologists to bring sight to the blind. The optical team test eyes, give away spectacles and provide free cataract surgery. The majority of visual problems presenting are associated with cataracts and presbyopia (hardening of the crystalline lens requiring reading glasses).

Casuarina Prison

The Equal Health optical team gives away thousands of new spectacles to worthy recipients on Equal Health programs each year. Many of the frames sourced for the optical program are received as donations from optical wholesale and retail businesses throughout Australia. The lenses are purchased using funds received by way of cash donations and fundraising activities.

The process of cutting and fitting the lenses to the frames is performed in a workshop in Perth's Casuarina Prison. Since 1999, Equal Health has enjoyed an arrangement with the Western Australian Justice Department for space in the Textiles Workshop at the prison and the provision of workers to run the program.

Equipment, frames, lenses, consumables and training are provided and maintained by Equal Health. The rest of the service is delivered by the prison.   Each year, prisoners at Casuarina Prison manufacture around 5,000 pairs of readymade spectacles for Equal Health.

Without the kind assistance from Casuarina Prison and donations of frames, it is unlikely Equal Health could afford to provide new spectacles.

Dental

The dental teams consist of dentists, dental nurse/assistants, and dental hygienist/therapists. They work in numerous village locations to provide free dental treatment and oral hygiene education. Treatment is provided on a needs basis where the problem that the patient presents with is treated. There are no attempts to treatment plan other necessary work as the sad fact is that patients do not have access to further work due to their geographical location or financial situation. The main treatment delivered in the villages is extractions, fillings, scale and cleans, minor surgical procedures and some straightforward restorations. Together with partner agencies, the dental teams also work with local schools providing basic oral hygiene education and toothbrushes.

Medical

The medical teams consist of general practitioners, nurses and physiotherapists who work in rural village locations in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. They work alongside local village doctors or nurses where possible to share knowledge and skills. The medical team conducts general clinics and sees and treats a range of conditions. The most common presenting conditions, which not all are treatable in the village situation, include:

  • Gastro intestinal tract complaints
  • Weakness and dizziness
  • Cough and respiratory problems
  • Cardiac conditions
  • Gynaecological issues
  • Incurable chronic conditions
  • Ear, nose and throat complaints
  • Eye disease
  • Skin disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • A range of psychosocial complaints

Allied Health

Musculoskeletal physiotherapists have the opportunity to work as part of the medical team on mobile outreach program in remote villages in Trichy and Urapakkam in Tamil Nadu and Katwa in West Bengal. Local Indian partners make this possible through their hard work and coordination. Australian health professional volunteers create makeshift 'surgeries' - local halls, someone's house or even the shade of a big tree - to provide access to free health care in remote villages.