Wednesday, 28 March 2012


It would have been impossible without the kind support of our well-wishers. ‘Caring Friends’ is one of those. For sustenance of social work, it needs support on various aspects like Financial, Guidance, Motivation, Networking & Parental care. ‘Caring Friends’ is providing all of them.
Ramesh uncle Kacholiyaji and Nimeshbhai are instrumental behind this & like parent as well.The entire team of CARING FRIENDS is our strongest supporter

Financial Support
It is very difficult to carry on & progress the social work without financial support (for project expenses & corpus). CARING FRIENDS is the main donor agency of MAHAN. More than 50% financial requirements of MAHAN have been fulfilled by the donations through CARING FRIENDS.MAHAN has more than 115 staff members. More than 35 staff members have been provided residential facilities in campus itself, supported by CARING FRIENDS

In addition to finance, timely guidance is one more requirement for continuous progress &sustainanceof work. Honorable Kacholiyaji Uncle and Honorable Nimeshbhai are one of the main guides for MAHAN. Many times we discuss the issues, improvements with them & jointly come up with solution.

Systematic Approach
Community work of MAHAN is spreading potentially in recent years. A proper system to handle these wide spread work is the very importantotherwise it may go haywire.The visits and follow up work by caring friend teamensures that systems are in place for proper & smooth workflow.

Today MAHAN has a huge network of supporters and well-wishers. Thanks to the team of CARING FRIENDS, which always try to introduce like-minded people to MAHAN.Many times when we faced problem or needed a help for improvement, this networking (ex. legal, media, administrative, professionals etc) helped a lot.

Parental Care
Although cash and kind are the two types of donation, CARING FRIENDS surpasses all of these by bestowing lots of love, affection, faith and parental care on the team of MAHAN. Entire team of CARING FRIENDS is like a family member of MAHAN.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Dr Kavita's experiences at Melgaht

In the words of Dr Ashish:

Dr.Kavitha cooking with a Choola

Cataract of a tiger

A}       After 2 yearsof starting MAHAN, Istarted eye hospital in Dharni. For first year, there was no financial support for her work. There used to be very few patients for initial one to two years. Due to superstitions, it was very difficult to convince patients for cataract surgery in Melghat.As most of the tribal patients in Melghat are very poor, they can not afford charges of operation for cataract. So many times, Iused toget depressed. ‘Probably I will have to operate cataract of a tiger’, I used to say sarcastically.
We used to live very simple life so that we could save a substantial amount of money and after few months we purchased operating microscope worth Rs.2,00,000. Mr. Prabhakar Palaskar (retired engineer, P.W.D.),one of our closed well wisher from Nagpur donated some amount. Kavita operated upon 10 cataract patients from that donation. And there after gradually we received more financial support for our eye hospital from Kasturba Health Society(Patron respected Dhirubhai Mehta), Sight Savers International, , Caring  friends, Mumbai, etc. Till now, I had operated more that 700  eye patients including  cataract patients successfully including Intra-ocular lens implantation free of cost.

Worship the patient is real worship to God

B}        For one year, I visited more than 50 villages in Melghat and conducted door to door screening and treatment of patients. Going to weekly Bazar was one of the options to reach the masses, overcoming the problem of commute. Our son, Athang was 4 months old. I used to keep him in cradle(zoli) made by tying a cloth between 2 branches of a tree and manage  the patients. I used to bring patients for surgery in our own vehicle. Many times I used to come at night from villages and prepare food for the blind patients and feed them. Also wash their clothes. It reminds “Patient is God and to worship the patient is real worship to god”.

Milk Brothers

C}        Once a pregnant lady was about to deliver the baby. However there was a problem in baby coming fully out of her body. Her relatives were persistently asking Kavita to conduct the delivery. Kavita on reaching to patient’s home found that her condition was very critical.There were no equipment which are required for delivery. Most importantly it was not hospital but patient’s house. Again same question ‘to be or not to be’. If Kavita does not operate, one of them will die.However kavita performed delivery successfully.
However the baby had birth ashphyxia . Kavita treated the baby and saved her life .
Next problem was - mother could not secrete  breast milk for her baby. At that time, our son, ‘Athang’ was six months young. Kavita used to send half of her milk to that newborn baby and keep half for Athang. Today that milk brother of Athang is living normal life. Now many of our village health workers & team of supervisors have motivated many tribal female leading by examples  to breast feedother babies whose mother had lactation problem. Many children were saved this way.

A face to face with calf& Snake

D}        Once I went to a village as usual for supervision of field activities. As there was no return bus from the village I preferred to stay in the village in night. I slept outside the hut of a tribal. (Few days before this a tiger had attacked that village). At around 5a.m., I realized that somebody had put leg on my abdomen(belly), I frightened thinking that probably it is the tiger and shouted. And when I open my eyes I saw a calf had kept his one leg over me and was ready to put other leg. But due to shouting, that calf ran away.
            In the next morning, I went to the forest for defecation,(as there is no latrine in most of the villages). Within fraction of seconds, I listened rustling sound of leaves.I was horrified to see a black cobra snake near by me. Somehow I could escape from that.

Obstacles converted to opportunity

There were a lot of obstacles while working in Melghat since beginning. But now I think, these obstacles are not hurdles in the road but a challenge to test and prove ourselves. The life is like a river. The river is more beautiful when it flows through mountains,valleys,falls,etc.

In 1998, I resigned from the post of lecturer in the department of Medicine of
M.G.I.M.S. Sevagram and registered a voluntary organization named MAHAN and started hospital in Melghat. In the beginning, there was no financial support from anybody. While during post-graduation and lecturer ship in Medical college, I was living a simple life due to which I could save around Rs.1,00,000 . I used that money for running hospital in Melghat. After 4 months, honorable Dr.Sushila Nayar who was the great supporter of the project provided financial support and since then MAHAN is running this project with the partnership Kasturba Health Society, Sevagram.

For the last 20 years (since 1998), not a single new M.B.B.S. doctor started non
governmental hospital in Dharni. So most of the people could not believe that I can be a M.B.B.S., We started our OPD in a hut at Kolupur and then hospital in a small (four rooms) rented house in Dharni. It was used for out patient department and for indoor patients. In the same house, patients use to vomit etc. and just nearby to it, was my dinning room and bed room. When I was in Government Medical College, Nagpur, I was habitual of working in a big hospital. But in Melghat, while treating the serious patients of brain hemorrhage, heart attack, etc., we faced lot of problems in the same small hospital. But I could manage successfully lot of serious patients.

Followings are few incidences worth mentioning it-
Critical Care Management
A}                    Once, at around 12 midnight a patient of serious heart attack was admitted in government hospital. As there was not a single physician, I was called to treat that patient. I had carried one E.C.G. machine,injection Streptokinase and unqualified attendant along with me. There was no cardiac monitor or defibrillator. It  was my first experience to treat such patient in Dharni with such minimum facilities. If I treat the patient and if he succumbs, then people will not believe me and I might have to leave Dharni. But then I realized that, if I treat that patient, there is 90% chance that he will survive. But if not treated, there is 100% chance of death.  So my strong will power forced me to start the treatment.  I was treating that patient until 4  a.m. . The patient was out of danger at around 4  a.m. and I was relaxed.
But after then, till now, I have successfully treated more than 800 serious patients with whatever available infrastructure .
B}                    Once a fifty years old male patient of brain hemorrhage (7cm in parietal lobe and 1cm in Thalamus) was admitted in comatose condition in our small hospital. He was advised by doctors from Amaravati & Indore that he could not be saved and hence should not be hospitalized. For 7 days, I was treating the patient in my hospital with available equipment. I was assisted by one 9th standard passed local male. 30 to 40 people were accompanying patient on daily basis. That was mounitng pressure.  On 8th day, that patient started walking and I was relaxed. From that day, people realized that I am a good qualified doctor and I got acceptance & publicity in Melghat.

C}                    I do remember a story of 5 years young girl patient suffering from  cerebral malaria with coma with decerebrate posture with convulsions. There was no pediatrician in surrounding locality. Myself not being a pediatrician, thought a  lot, whether to treat her or not.  But if I do not treat her, she will not survive at all.  Hence ,I decided to use my all knowledge and courage to treat the child and could successfully save her. It increased my confidence that I can manage serious children also though I am not a pediatrician.

Sometimes I am also surprised that, I could have successfully managed serious patients in such difficult circumstances.

MAHAN Success Story in Dr Satav's words.

1) During last 5 years, the village health workers treated more than 75000 patients. The concept of bare foot doctors is now gaining good result. Our project received Young Scientist Award and first best oral presentation in National Symposium on Tribal Health by Indian Counsil of Medical Research . Our research work has been accepted in many international conferences. Now Maharashtra government has decided to replicate our home based child care program in whole Melghat.
2)  Due to our advocacy over malnutrition and children mortality, Rajmata Jijau Mother and children Health & Nutrition mission(RJMCHNM) of government of Maharashtra along with UNICEF verified our survey reports, accepted the findings and started measures to control the situation. After our confirmation, RJMCHNM conducted similar survey in other tribal areas of Maharashtra and found very high prevalance of severe malnutrition. So our study exposed the situation of severe malnutrition in all tribal areas of Maharashtra. Our NGO has been included in Bhavishya Alliance (international trisectorial partnership) for deciding policies for malnutrition reduction in Maharashtra. This is our great success.
3)  In 2004, during winter season, we supplied nutritious food to 300 severely malnourished children from 38 villages of Melghat for 100 days and saved many lives. Most of the severely malnourished babies are getting food from AWW due to our monitoring. We analysed around 20 locally available food and found that many are nutrtionaly good. We prepared many dishes during the nutrition demonstration and trained many tribals from 17 villages for home based feeding & hygeiene . In our HBCC we could reduce malnutrition and child mortality significantly.  Due to our this experience , we mobilised local govt. health department to start village based feeding centers in 39 villages of Melghat. They got good result and then from this lesson, (RJMCHNM) conducted similar experiment in other part of Maharasthra. Now it is state level policy of VCDC. The root lies in our experiment of 38 villages.
4)  During camps we exposed problem of Malaria. D.M.O. pressurised us not to expose. We did not bow . Collector accepted the fact and ordered the government machinery to start malaria control program on massive scale.
5)  Socioeconomic development especially public Satbara reading. Initially in Melghat most of the tribals were working on the fields given by government to their ancestors. But the were not legal heir of the lands and hence were not getting benefits of government schemes. We with the help of villagers could pressurise government to start mutation and open satbara reading on mass scale. Due to which many tribals are benefitted to great extent.
6)  Story of community awakening : Village Kokmar- 1. Motivation of people for accepting facts of malnutrition : Due to exposure of reality of malnutrition in Melghat, the grass root govt. workers along with some notorious people presurrised Kokmar village health worker (VHW) to stop work. It was a great blow to me , as it was my dream to reduce deaths in very interior village like Kokmar. Then myself with my friends esp. Alhad Kashikar and our staff went to the village in rainy season thorough very dense forest on bikes. The villagers were reluctant to
speak as they were told that we are defaming their village by publishing name  of the severely malnourished babies. After 30 minutes, we saw a thin boy walking with a roti in hand. He was severely malnourished 3 months back and bed ridden & was not getting proper nutrition from anganwadi. Due to exposure of his name in news paper by us, he was getting benefit of special diet and health care from govt. So now he is able to walk. We explained it to the villagers. They were convinced with the example and started supporting like anything to us since then. We have now full support in the village. The VHW restarted her work.

MAHAN Founder Dr Ashish Satav's Inspiration

My self Dr. Ashish Satav (M.B.B.S., M.D.) & my wife Dr. Kavita Satav (M.B.B.S., M.S.-Eye surgeon) are providing curative and preventive medical facilities to poor tribal people of Melghat. Our life has been enlightened by 11 years son, Athang.



Source of Inspiration & Guidance for the work:


I was influenced by my grandfather Mr. Vasantrao Bombatkar (Sarvodaya leader) since my childhood. Under his guidance, I read literature written by Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekanand and great saint Vinoba Bhave. These are my real driving forces (Preranasthan-Source of inspiration) for all my endeavors. I was touched by Gandhian teaching - “youths should go to the villages to serve as real India is in villages” and after 7th standard, I decided to become doctor and serve the rural part of India. Attending “Shram Sanskar Shibir” organized by great social worker Baba Amte during my 9th standard was a real experience for future social lifeAfter admission to Government medical college Nagpur, I started visiting various rural and tribal health projects run by Drs. Prakash and Manda Amte, Drs. Abhay & Rani Bang, (main guide), Dr. Ravindra Kolhe, Dr. Sudarshan, etc. After visiting tribal areas, I realized that tribal areas need medical facilities to a great extent as compared to rural area. So during my M.D, I decided to start work in very difficult area of Melghat where medical facilities were very scarce. The guidance by Dr. Ulhas Jaju, Dr. Avinash Saoji, Dr. Kalantri, Dr.Jalgaonkar and Dr. Mrs. Holey,Miss.Joshi (Mrs. Deshpande) & Mr. Bhagvat was always helpful to me during this process.

Preparation for future Life-

During M.B.B.S, after deciding to start hospital in tribal or rural area, I started molding myself to suit in that kind of atmosphere. I started simple living, living without cooler during summer season even when temperature used go up to 45-46 Deg Cen., taking bath with cold water during winter. Such types of experiments were going on to test myself.
Due to regular yoga and meditation, study of Geetai written by Vinoba Bhave(especially Sthithpradhnyachi Laxane-symptoms of stable mind), “Experience with truth” written by Mahatma Gandhi, books written by Swami Vivekanand , my mental strength increased to a significant extent. I learnt to control the innate desire of human being like sex, greed, anger, lust, egoistic attitude, envy etc. It increased my mental piece and physical and mental capacity for my social work. Due to regular visits and discussion with idealistic social minded people, I could develop those values & qualities necessary for future life.

Reading the book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” helped me for social work. Due to use of “Ahimsa (Non-violence), Satya (Truth), Asteya (Non- stealing), Bramhacharya (control of sex with other female and other desire), Sharirshram (hard work), Aswad (no attachment to taste), Sarvatra Bhayavarjan (courage), Sarvadharma Samanatva (equal behavior with all religions), Swadeshi (use of material made in own country), Sparshabhavana (avoid untouchable behavior)” in personnel life, the life in Melghat become palatable and tolerable. During MBBS, I attended ‘Movad’ river flood relief camp in Bhandara district and distributed lot of cloths to those who lost everything in the flood that was one of the 1sthand on experience of social work.

Pillars of project:
We are very thankful to the continued guidance and support from our Pillars of Support
  • Caring friends, Mumbai especially Rameshbhai Kacholia and Nimeshbhai Sumati and Arpan, USA. Click Here to read more.
  • Kasturba Health Society, & MGIMS Sevagram- Late Dr. Sushila Nayar, Mr. Dhirubhai Mehta & Mr. Shripad Halbe.
  • Stichting Geron, the Netherlands (Nico Nobel, Annekoos, Bastiaan, etc.) & Cordaid , The Netherlands..
  • Mastek Foundation
  • Dr. Abhijit Bharadwaj, Dr. Gahukar.
  • Mrs. & Mr. Jayashri Pendharkar.
  • Vijay Kaore, Dr. Avinash Saoji.
  • Palaskar family.
  • Varangaonkar & Kashikar families
  • Satav, Renge & Manekar families.
  • Dr. Dilip Gahankari, Dr. Mridula Bapat. Dr. Vibhavari  Dani, Dr. Nisal, etc.
  • Guidestar India
In the whole journey my mother(Kamal Satav) and father (Rambhau Satav), brothers (Avinash & Ajay) and wife stood very firmly behind me and supported when needed.