MAHAN (Meditation, AIDS, Health, Addiction, Nutrition) is a non-government organization established in 1998 to improve health care in Melghat region. Dr. Ashish Satav (MD) and his wife, Dr. Kavita Satav (MS ophthalmology) left their secure jobs at medical college to start MAHAN Trust which provides healthcare in one of the poorest and most deprived parts of India – the Melghat region. MAHAN was touched by Gandhian teaching that “youths should go to the villages to serve as real India is in villages”. Melghat is the hilly forest area in the beautiful Satpuda mountain ranges. Population is 300,000 & 75% of them are tribal. Korku is the major tribe of Melghat. Most of the tribal (>90 %) are farmers or labourers, living below poverty line (>75%) & very hard life inkaccha houses(>90%) mostly without electricity & illiterate (>50%). Medical facilities are worst in Melghat as compared to rest of Maharashtra. Due to lack of proper medical facilities & superstitions, tribal goes to traditional faith healers/quacks (pujari&bhumkas) for treatment of illness. Skin is burnt with red hot iron rod for reducing pain known as Damma. This lead to very high under 5 children mortality (>100 per 1000 live births) especially Malnutrition related deaths and very high mortality in age group (16-60 years) & maternal mortality. Moved by such things, we started the project in Melghat in November 1997. MAHAN Trust has dedicated its work to reduce malnutrition and mortality among women and under-five children through various programs e.g.. Hospital, Critical Care Facilities, pediatric hospital , Home Based Child Care (HBCC), Malnutrition Eradication (SAMMAN), Providing Locally Prepared Therapeutic Food to malnourished children, Mortality Control Program for Economically Productive Age Group, Blindness Control, De-Addiction Program, Kitchen Garden(KG) and Nutrition Farm (NF) and Counsellor Program for strengthening of government hospitals. Dr Kavita has selflessly supported all of MAHAN’s initiatives and has spearheaded the blindness control program, often personally conducting door to door screenings in over 400 remote villages, spreading awareness to convince tribal to come to the hospital for eye check-ups and surgeries and braving the dangers of the forest environment to personally reach her patients and treat them.
MAHAN’s community health programs have reduced child mortality and severe malnutrition by more than 65%, reduced the death rate in economically productive age group and maternal mortality by more than 50%. MAHAN has provided free services of specialists’ doctors to more than 120,000 patients, saved more than 3000 critically ill tribal patients, provided vision to more than 21,000 tribal patients by cataract surgery and providing spectacles and provided free plastic surgery to >1000 tribal. MAHAN could improve 17 government hospitals benefitting >300000 tribal. MAHAN could improve lives of more than 7,00,000 tribal people especially children and women due to their efforts in changing Government policies, expanding many state health and ICDS policies. MAHAN trust research has been published in many international medical journals like Lancet and Harvard USA, international conferences as key note speaker e.g. London, has won several national and international awards e.g. World Health Organization’s Public Health Champion Award, for social service, advocacy and pioneering medical research. Due to very good work many international organizations e.g. University of Colarado, Denver, USA, Nottingham’s university UK, UNICEF, etc. have collaborated with MAHAN for its work in Melghat. MAHAN could develop >6000 NF, KG in 16 tribal villages producing > 100000 kg green vegetables, pulses, etc. by tribal farmers.
Due to MAHAN’s efforts, three villages are free from social drinking of alcohol.Attachments: