Exploring partnerships in India

In 2015, Osler took the world by storm as a five-member clinical team traveled to Punjab, India as part of our Global Health Program. This was the first international tour as part of this Program.

The team met with hospital leaders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Amritsar and surrounding areas to learn more about health care in this region and identify partnership opportunities to make a difference abroad and in our local community.

Given the extensive and vibrant Punjabi community within our region, we are excited to explore ways in which we can help contribute to the homelands of our local citizens while gathering valuable insights on innovative practices that can be used to better meet the needs of our community.

May 12

Internet connection was spotty in Amritsar, so the global health team had to post this material a little bit later than intended:

Today the team visited the Pingalwara Charitable Society, which was a truly amazing experience. Pingalwara provides shelter and care for approximately 1,700 residents, medical facilities such as pharmacy, lab, dental clinic and free education for abandoned children or for families below the poverty line. They are headquartered in Amritsar and have 5 branches spread across Punjab state.

Tomorrow the team heads home. It has been an incredible journey and we have learned so much and identified several areas where Osler could add value through a partnership.

Picture of the founder of Pingalwara, Bhagat Puran Singh Ji

With the President Dr. Inderjit Kaur (3rd from left) and Vice President Dr. Jagdeepak Singh (on right side)

Senior citizen who is unable to be taken care of by her own family is living in ‘Apna Ghar’ which translates into my home

The food being prepared by volunteers for residents is produced in Pingalwara’s own natural farm that does not use pesticide or insecticide

Children receiving a lesson in sign language. The teachers have to develop the curriculum from scratch as there is no existing educational material for teaching deaf children

Two Pingalwara children who were abandoned at a young age and have now completed their grade 12 exams and plan on going to college.

Main entrance at Pingalwara

Dr. David Koczerginski playing with one of 5 girls in the nursery who were left abandoned outside Pingalwara

140 children attend Pingalwara’s school for the deaf. Most children in the school have been abandoned by their families as there is stigma in having a deaf child

Summary of the patients admitted to Pingalwara

Dr. Davinder Wadehra getting the autograph of a young deaf boy who played a feature role in a Bollywood film

May 11

The team visited the Institute of Mental Health Amritsar today. It is a 450 bedded government mental health hospital staffed with four psychiatrists, 18 nurses, one clinical psychologist and three psychiatric social workers.

The main entrance of the Institute of Mental Health

One of the rooms on the ‘Intermediate’ unit.

With the director, Dr. Goyal (centre), three psychiatrists and a pathologist learning about how they manage their patient’s mental illness.

Nursing students completing 1 month practicum placement in psychiatry. These students support the limited full time staff by providing counselling and education to patients and families.

May 9

The team visited Chakar Village today which is a ‘model village’ as it has implemented several infrastructure initiatives over the last 10 years with the support of donations from Canadians and the local community. As a result they have started to see a positive impact on the health of their population.

Sukhminder, a local from the village, provided us a tour of ‘model village’

Space for the women of the village to practice yoga in the evenings

With the local village primary care doctor

A seniors community centre. The elders of the town took a break from playing cards to greet us

We were presented with an Award of Honour by the village leadership and sarpanch, similar to a mayor (in the orange turban), though the real honour was ours to have been embraced and welcomed by this village which was so passionate about sharing their success with the hopes of spreading similar models to villages across Punjab and India.


With the financial support of the villagers and Canadians who have made donations, three small  water sanitation systems have been constructed across the village. This type of sewage and sanitation is not common in Punjab. This is one of the three holding ponds in the water treatment system. The clean water produced by the system will be used by the villagers for consumption and by farmers to water their crops. As a result of this and other public health investments, the rate of hepatitis is 5% compared to 50% in the neighbouring villages.

A separate rain water pond was created to allow farmers to take their cattle for feeding of clean water. As a result, the milk produced from cows is less contaminated and onset of certain childhood diseases has started to decrease.

Chart summarizing annual vaccination numbers. Nearly 100% of children are vaccinated through the two local primary care doctors (one male, one female)

Inspirational quotes in the sports complex. This one really struck a cord with our team

Sher-E-Punjab Sports Academy and Welfare Club established through voluntary donations. The academy provides coaching to train young boys and girls. At the age of 4 each child is enrolled in either boxing (pictured above) or soccer and children practice each day practice occurs in the morning before school and after school. Engaging children in various activities has impacted the additions rate which is approximately 10% compared to 50% in neighbouring villages. Additionally, for families who are unable to afford college tuition, children are able to attend college on athletic scholarships.

There are currently 5 youth competing at the international level (4 females and one male). Simranjeet Kaur Chakar won a bronze medal at the Youth World Boxing Championships in Bulgaria.

May 8

Today was a busy day! The team met with Dayanand Medical College & Hospital (DMCH), Sambhav Foundation NGO and Can Fight Cancer NGO, all in Ludhiana city.

The Hero Heart Institute at DMCH

Speaking with emergency department staff and physicians to better understand the demographic profile of patients who come to the emergency department

The team had a tour of the research centre and learned about the type of research being conducted to improve understanding of various chronic diseases

Showing our support for Sambhav Foundation's upcoming project to plant 10,000,000 trees across Punjab in one hour with the support of the involvement of local government, schools, colleges, corporations and general public. The project will we coupled with an awareness Campaign about drug addiction in the region.

Patients waiting for outpatient department appointments

The team met with the Principal of the Medical College, an Orthopaedic Surgeon who is passionate about global health, and the Medical Superintendent

Learning about Sambha Foundations mission and their transformational projects

With the Founder and oncologist from Can Fight Cancer NGO

May 7

The team left from Ludhiana to Jalandhar to meet with SGL Charitable Hospital. They run two charitable hospitals (the 2nd one is in Mustafabad Village) and a nursing college. Services at the hospital are generally cost 50% less compared to neighbouring for profit hospitals.

Stay tuned! Tomorrow the team will be meeting with three organizations - Dayanand Medical College & Hospital, Sambhav Foundation (NGO) and Can Fight Cancer (NGO).

Greeting the hospital medical superintendent, secretary of the hospital and secretary of the nursing school.

Free medical camps are provided every month on the first Sunday.

The Chairman of SGL Hospital, Baba Kashmira Singh Ji, providing a siropa ( a cloth bestowed on someone as a mark of honour) to the members of the Global Health Exploratory Tour team.

Dr. Wadehra learning about the clinical practices in the dialysis department from a fellow nephrologist.

Patients waiting for appointments in busy outpatient departments which see 700-800 patients a day.

Learning more about strategies being used to prevent trauma accidents and screen for cancer with the neurosurgeon and oncologist (on the right)

Speaking with the cardiac surgeons.

On the premises exists a place of worship for Sikh, Hindu, Muslim and Christian patients and families all under one roof.

May 6

The team met with Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha Ayurvedic Medical College & Hospital in Sarabha village outside of Ludhiana city. They run a chartiable hospital which provides care to patients at a nominal cost and has three colleges – nursing, dental and ayurvedic.

Operating room, currently lacking facilities for trauma cases

Dr. Mohammad addressing the graduating class of the nusing college. He provided an overview of Osler and the purpose of the Global Health Program.

The Global Health team on the way to Sarabha in the morning from Chandigarh

Dr. David Koczerginski, Corporate Chief of Psychiatry and Medical Director, Mental Health and Addictions, discusses the importance of mental health treatment and addressing stigma with the nursing college students.

Picture of Sarabha village; you can see that the sewage still goes through the troughs in the streets.

Dr Naveed Mohammad, VP, Medical Affairs and Global Health Program physician lead, speaking with Gynaecologists about services and outreach offered to the community.

Say hello to the hospital and nursing college management!

Resident and nursing staff in the 4-bedded ER

Signage at hospital and college entrance

Child playing in Sarabha village

May 5

The team visited Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib Hospital, a hospital with the mission for vision.  The institution started as a small not-for-profit clinic for cataract surgery and has since grown to serve millions of patients across the nation with the mandate of "pay if you can" and "to serve the poor."  The hospital is now a multi-disciplinary clinic focused on eradicating eye disease.

May 4

The Global Health Team visited one of the Apollo Hospitals and met with members of their leadership. 

team shot of Osler's global health team in India's Apollo Hospitals

May 2

The team touched down in Delhi today and spent some time getting oriented and learning about the culture before beginning their exploration of the health care and social structures of the country.

Headshot of David Koczerginski

Dr. David Koczerginski, Corporate Chief of Psychiatry and Medical Director, Mental Health and Addictions

Fruit market in Delhi

A fruit market stall in Delhi

Street scene in Delhi

A scene from the streets in Delhi

Dr. Naveed Mohammad (Global Health Program Physician Lead), VP Medical Affairs and practicing Emergency and Primary Care physician and Dr. Davinder Wadehra, Medical Director of Nephrology (representing chronic disease)

Related Information

Resource Center

Helpful links to the most useful lists and forms for health professionals.

Connect with Osler