Health (Arogya)

Ekal’s contribution to rural health programs in India

India has been missing out in global ranking based on Human Development Index (HDI) largely due to health related parameters. One of the major contributory factors for such low ranking is related to high mortality rate, MCH and nutritional disorders owing to Anemia, particularly in rural and tribal areas. These issues attracted the attention of the Ekal while intervening on the educational issues in rural and tribal areas.

Initially for Ekal, literacy was the main medium for development of deprived segments of the society in India. However, with the experiences over two decades, Ekal volunteers found that the health problems of rural folks and elimination of poverty were equally important issues that need to be tended for holistic community development. Therefore, Ekal thought it to be its social responsibility to chalk out projects to address the issues related to health and healthcare.

In the first phase, health awareness and education for the prevention of diseases were started through Ekal Vidyalayas (One Teacher Schools). Going forward, for expanding and delivering professional services in a more systematic way, a separate organization Arogya Foundation of India has been established.

The Foundation has started field level working, taking help and support of an organizational network of EKAL institutions, with voluntary services of local medical professionals and their support staff.


Field Activities are undertaken by Arogya Foundation

Spreading awareness and health education, through Saptahik Pathshala (weekly schools), organizing General Health Camps in Sanch Kendra to provide professional medical services to the general public, free of cost, and dispensing medicines.

Organizing Anemia Health Camps at Sanch Kendra mainly for women and children which cover testing of Hb level, educating on need and sources of nutritious food rich in iron, dispensing and feeding medicine for worms and dispensing iron tablets.

For follow-up, Arogya Sevikas, the health Karyakartas, visit the women in their villages regularly and encourage adopting hygienic living methods and nutritious food habits are taught in the camp and also to ensure consumption of iron tablets. Follow-up camps are planned to be organized in the same Sanch Kendra, after 6 months, to test Hb levels, monitor progress and take appropriate steps to eradicate Anemia from the target areas in a phased manner.

The budget for a number of General Health Camps and for Anemia camps is allotted depending upon resources available at the beginning of the year.

Ekal Arogya (Health and Hygiene) Program

Ekal has a presence in 100,000 remote villages of India with a population of 100 million people. For the development of these remote villages, Ekal has three programs – Education, Arogya (Health and Hygiene) and Economic development. At this time all activities have been diverted towards the fight against COVID.

Ekal’s Arogya program consists of Prevention and Control of the pandemic, and patient-physician contact via Telemedicine.

Preventive- Awareness 

  1. Promote Immunisation through vaccination
  2. Boosting Immunity by promoting local concoction
  3. Promote physical exercise – Yoga
  4. Counter Misinformation regarding CORONA and Vaccination.

Preventive- Measures

  1. Manufacturing of face masks at Ekal Tailoring training centres, and free distribution by Ekal Karyakartas. Target 400k masks
  2. Wash Hands
  3. Social Distancing

Control Pandemic

Diagnostic- Village volunteers to be equipped with digital Oximeters and Thermometers. An estimated quantity of 15,000/ each is targeted at this time. Depending upon the results, the next step is Telemedicine or the transfer of patients to COVID Isolation centers.

Telemedicine – Helpdesk and Call Centre. This service has been established in collaboration with Intelehealth and NMO. 50 call centres are planned in various regional languages throughout India. Close to 400 doctors have registered as volunteers to staff the helpdesk. The number of patients to be supported is estimated at 250k over 3 months.

COVID Isolation Centres (CIC)

Ekal has a presence in 100,000 villages with a population of 100 million people.  Ekal teachers and volunteers are doing their best to prevent and control the pandemic in these villages.  To better control the spread of the pandemic in Ekal villages, COVID Isolation centers have been set up.

Isolation Centre Facilities

Converting Village Development Centres, Skill Centres, schools, community centres, etc. into temporary Covid Isolation centres.  The number of beds in a CIC will vary from 5 to 25 depending on the facility. 

Medical Advice, Food, Medicine.  Paramedical staff will be provided for diagnostics, medicines, and the use of Oxygen concentrators to every CIC.

Necessary safety and hygiene measures will be observed by the staff and the patients at all times.

Management of CIC’s

CIC operations are planned and managed by a team of professional doctors, under the leadership of Dr. Mukul Bhatia, MS from Ranchi. The members of the team include:

  • Dr. R N Mehta, MBBS, D.A., FCCP, Retd. Chief Distt. Medical Officer, Gujrat, Vadodara
  • Dr. M S Bhat, MS, FICS, FIAMS, Retd. Prof. & HOD, Gen Surgery, RIIMS, Ranchi
  • Dr Vani Ahluwalia, MBBS, DAFE, PGD-McH, Jabalpur
  • Dr Umesh Paliwal, MD (Pathology), Kanpur
  • Dr. Bhaumik Upadhyaya, MBBS, AFIH, Vadodara
  • Dr. Banwari Lal Bagra, MD, Jaipur
  • Dr. Mrityunjay Singh, MS, Ranchi.

Coordination with State-run programs: Ekal Arogya (Health and Hygiene) program is coordinated with state runs systems – Asha and Anganwadi.


At this time, target is to implement Ekal Isolation program in 15 provinces -Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Odisha, Assam, UP, Gujrat, Maharashtra, Himachal, Punjab, MP, Uttarakhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Karnataka and Telangana.

Expenses and Costs

  • Donation of $1,200 covers Education and Arogya for one village for one year.
  • Donation of $37,000 covers management of one CIC for one year

It may be noted that the space is available free of rent, and medical advice is provided by volunteer physicians. 


Anemia Eradication Project for Rural Women and Children

  • 86.5% – prevalence for Anemia in rural women
  • 83% – improved post-treatment (in women)
  • 35-50% – prevalence in children (6 – 59 months)
  • 45-50% improved post-treatment

Anemia is the world’s second leading cause of illness and India is among the countries with one of the highest prevalence (70%-80%) of Anemia. It is estimated that about 20%-40% of maternal deaths in India are due to Anemia. The alarming number of women suffering from Anemia in rural India is 86.5%, inspired us to start a program to control Anemia in Ekal Villages. Arogya Foundation of India aims to reduce the prevalence of Anemia in Ekal villages.