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Horton's consultant goes the extra 5,000 miles to help people in need

09/10/2018
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In November 2018 Horton-based Consultant Anaesthetist Dr Robbie Kerry will hold free clinics for ten days in deprived villages on the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border in the South of India, and is looking to raise £6,000 to help them set up a community ambulance.

Dr Kerry will work as a part of a humanitarian project run jointly by Nehemiah Ministries, which is a charity he founded in 2000, and local Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) PALM-2 to improve income generation, empower women and develop farm cooperatives.

Over the last five years he has been offering clinics to some of the poorest communities in India, where access to healthcare is difficult and people die from minor illnesses because they haven't got access to a doctor. From tribal villages in the remote hills of Orissa in the North-East, to Nagapattinam in Southern India, when Dr Kerry volunteers in India he pays for his own expenses and uses his annual leave.

In these remote areas Dr Kerry's clinics are always very popular. During the course of one day he might easily see 100 people who come to have their blood pressure checked, discuss their health problems or ask for explanations in simple terms of notes and letters received from local doctors.

Dr Kerry said: "I have seen patients presenting with all sorts of conditions, including uncontrolled diabetes, mystery fevers as well as cases of cancers. Therefore, the lack of ambulances is major issue that can reduce the effectiveness of my intervention as often the closest hospital is more than ten miles away."

Many of his patients are from the Dalit ('untouchable') caste and have experienced significant discrimination and persecution all their lives.

"Providing basic medical care is secondary to the main impact our visits have, which is to show that their lives matter, we value them, and they are certainly not 'untouchable'".

Passionate about promoting social justice among the poorest and most underprivileged people groups, Dr Kerry visited India for the first time in 1997.

In 2000, together with his colleague Mr Rajan Jayakumar, with whom Dr Kerry shares a strong Christian faith, he founded Nehemiah Ministries, a charity that looks after people in poverty, providing them with opportunities for education.

Dr Kerry and his charity are focused on raising money to provide an ambulance to the poorest villages of the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka area.

This would be a game changer for the community as it will improve their access to healthcare services.

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