This evening I had the good fortune to listen to a talk by Dr. Kiran Martin, the Director of the Asha Medical Foundation, which is an organization that delivers health care to slum communities in India. Dr. Martin is a remarkable woman, she speaks with passion, has a clear understanding how to get results, and is motivated to make the most impact possible. She challenged all of us in audience (as we enjoyed the delicious Indian food), to do more to improve situations of those less fortunate than us. She spoke quickly, so I'll have to paraphrase her challenge:
"You can be the people with the inspiring vision, the credible vision, the moral authority. You can use your gifts to see that the shame of child poverty will not have the last word. This is my challenge to you"
In the last 21 years, Asha has been successful in creating a sustainable model that is not expensive, but gets results. They train community health workers (selected by those in the slum community) to do the majority of the medical work, health prevention, promotion, mid-wifery roles. They connect the communities to excellent referral systems to meet with medical specialists when needed, and focus efforts on education folks to take an active role in getting clean water, electricity, housing rights, sanitation for their community.
You can learn more about ASHA here.