The Bishop of Derby's Harvest Appeal 2018 SARENGA: A hospital and community health project in Durgapur, West Bengal

The Appeal

As we in the UK celebrate 70 years of our NHS, please support the Church of North India and USPG to promote community health care and support Khristiya Seva Niketan (KSN), a 125-bed hospital in Sarenga, Durgapur, so more people can experience the healing power of God.

The partnership with KSN includes facilitating a health programme that is helping the hospital and the local church establish closer connections with local communities.

This programme promotes healthcare in disadvantaged rural communities in North India, with the church and the local hospital working together, along with strong participation from the communities themselves.

Many of the people who visit Serenga Hospital are tribal and are so poor that they are often outside India's caste system.

The hospital is run by the Church of North India and the name of the hospital, which was founded in 1914, is Bengali for:

‘The house of Christian service’.

The aim of the programme based in Sarenga, West Bengal, run by the Diocese of Durgapur, is to provide holistic health care which is acceptable, affordable and accessible by the community and brought about by community participation.

By organising people's groups to identify the problems and address the problems through community initiatives so that people are at the centre of their own development and take lead roles in transforming their own situation.

Issues that have been identified in this area are low literacy (especially among women), lack of skills and opportunities for development, poor health, malnutrition, high infant mortality.

Through combined efforts of the church and the hospital (Khristiya Seva Niketan – Serenga Hospital) with mobile outreach clinics in the nearby villages, USPG managed to identify certain problems which are common to most of the villages in this area.

Some of the problems that need to be addressed through this project are:

  • Chronic diseases
  • Environmental hygiene and sanitation
  • Safe drinking water
  • Communicable diseases
  • Employment and small scale industry
  • School dropouts

Canon David Truby, of Wirksworth Team Minstry, has visited Sarenga a number of times and gives us his impression of the hospital and the area

David (centre) is pictured here under the banyan tree with Dr Biswas, former Medical Director (now retired) and Camilla Veitch, the URC Minister for Wirsworth

The hospital is really important to the communities in the region.

It began as a missionary hospital - under a banyan tree, with boughs down to the ground providing great shelter.

These days, it provides maternity facilities and so is invaluable to the tribal people who come from the surrounding areas.

The hospital also does small 'minor injury' operations in a small operating theatre, and takes itself out into the communities, sending groups of doctors to do minor cataract operations out in the bush.

It also has an training facility for nurses.

Facilities in the hospital are basic, but serviceable

There is a steelworks near to Durgapur and when it is at full throttle it draws on the water supply. The water table drops and so it become difficult for people to access water.

They have a general lack of provisions and tend to fish in ponds. Thie roads are improving but there is a sense of isolation.

Despite their poverty, there is a big sense of community, looking out for each other and a sense of joy.

They make do with what they have. Many live in mud huts with thatched roofs. They are content with what they have and are very resilient.

The number of Christians in the Diocese of Durgapur is growing and they are forever building churches. Visitors are always made to feel extremely welcome.

When you go there, you first notice their poverty. But the other thing that jumps out at you is their sense of simplicity.

This appeal will help to ensure that the hospital continues with the great work it does for the local communities and in training and retaining nurses

Helping this hospital means that people who are 'at the bottom of the pile' can receive good-quality medical care.

We'd be giving young, local women the chance to learn a profession in the training wing.

We'd also be helping to provide for the long-term future of the hospital, which has always been at risk.

Please send donations to:

Edward Latham, 64 Birkinstyle Lane, Shirland, Alfreton, DE55 6BS

Cheques should be made payable to The Bishop of Derby’s Harvest Appeal.

Created By
Diocese of Derby

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