Qimpro Gold Standard 2018

Dr Sunil Kaul

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Founder & Managing Trustee, The ANT - Action North-East Trust

Dr Sunil Kaul is the Founder Trustee, The ANT, an NGO based in Assam. The ANT works directly for village development in Chirang district of Bodoland. At another level, The ANT engages with other NGOs to grow the voluntary sector in the Northeast region.

In 1983, Dr Kaul joined the Army Medical Corps. For 10 years, he treated bullet and grenade injuries. Boldly. But he was haunted by the underbelly of rural areas in Arunachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. At this young age he battled an emotional tsunami.

His stress was traceable to his education at the Armed Forces Medical College. He had learned that poor health indicators are just the symptoms of an underlying national disease, caused by myriad determinants of health, such as scarce healthcare and education, as well as poverty, corruption and poor governance.

He responded to his calling by taking leave to work in the rural areas of Rajasthan. Subsequently, he and a few colleagues from an NGO in Rajasthan moved to the Northeast in the thick of militancy. Dr Kaul’s mission was to improve health and development with community involvement at very low cost.

Here, Dr Kaul experienced the terror seeded by ULFA militants. In particular, the kidnapping of a senior colleague. Subsequent ransom calls. And finally, murder. Heartbroken, Dr Kaul escaped.

But this extraordinary human came back, to Assam, in 2000. He was armed with his wife, Jennifer Liang, a trained social worker. He founded The ANT that is located in a rural area of Chirang district, where they live and work to date.

Dr Kaul and his colleagues have trained hundreds of community health workers in Rajasthan, Assam, Meghalaya and Manipur. They advise on health matters, as well as diagnose and treat common illnesses from a box of low-cost generic medicines. He has also trained barefoot microscopists to diagnose malaria. WHO consultants have personally verified the system that delivers 95% correct species identification, with rural metric pass adults. A breakthrough. Chirang has the distinction of having eliminated malaria-related mortality.

Dr Kaul and his associates in The ANT’s Mental Health Program, treat more than 1200 patients a month, for mental health disorders and epilepsy. They charge less than Rs 10 a day, inclusive of medicines and periodic consultation. Dr Kaul believes in quality of care; coupled with affordability.

The ANT celebrates the fact that size is not everything. And quite like ants, one can be small, hardworking and effective. It believes that like ants, one can overcome great obstacles, if one perseveres united.

We congratulate Dr Sunil Kaul, our Qimpro Gold Standard 2018 for Healthcare.