Doctors For You (DFY)
In times of natural disaster in India, WHEN supports the relief efforts of the non-profit Doctors For You (DFY). Only specifically targeted funds go to these efforts. DFY was founded in 2007 by a group of medical student at King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital in Mumbai. These students witnessed an outbreak of Malaria and Dengue Fever that year, and were motivated to take action by a severe shortage of blood and platelets available in local blood banks for patients suffering from these conditions. The following year in 2008, DFY became a leader in disaster relief after responding to catastrophic flooding in 15 districts of Bihar. DFY provided relief from the immediate disaster, and stayed in the region for 6 months to help prevent and manage epidemics that commonly follow natural disaster. DFY won two prestigious international awards for their work in Bihar, including the BMJ Group Award for “Best Medical Team in a Crisis Zone” in 2011, and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Youth Award in 2009. Sadly, one of DFY’s staff doctors died during their relief work in Bihar from a lightning strike.
DFY’s current focus is improving primary and preventative healthcare for underserved populations throughout India, as well as strengthening India’s disaster response and improving healthcare delivery so as to prevent disruption during disasters.
In Mumbai, DFY has a comprehensive health centre for residents of Mumbai slums. This centre provides immunizations to slum children who often do not receive these basic preventative measures. It also provides antenatal health services to pregnant women and is a DOTS center for tuberculosis therapy. DFY also conducts various community outreach programs and educational sessions with communities health issues such as the importance of exclusive breastfeeding of newborns, immunizations, nutrition, and family planning.
In Guwahati, Assam, DFY has an office dedicated to the public health of this troubled region. In 2012, ethnic riots broke out between indigenous Bodos and Muslims in Assam leading to the displacement of over 4 million people. DFY responded to this man-made disaster and has visited many of the over 200 refugee camps. They have focused their efforts on healthcare for women and children, including reproductive health, nutrition, immunizations, prenatal care, and safe childbirth within the refugee camps. They are also training locals and building local capacity to respond to emergencies in the future. They have trained roughly 2000 doctors, paramedics, and paramilitary personnel in an effort to improve disaster response.
DFY accepts volunteers and interns from throughout the world. WHEN is currently facilitating a new collaboration between DFY and UMass-Boston on an undergraduate course called “International Epidemics”.