In 2006, NorthBay VacaValley Hospital Nurse Nikki Kaur, RN, set out to open a free medical clinic in India. Her concern for the poor was shared by her brother, Dr. Ramandeep Singh, and by year’s end they opened the G.S.J. Charitable Clinic, named after their late father, in a rural part of Jalandhar. They chose an area where the residents live below the poverty line, many working for the equivalent of $2 a day.
“The cost of living is high, a doctor’s visit can cost $1 and medications are expensive,” Nikki says. “Our clinic is free and we planned to offer free medications as well. But local superstitions are strong. The Indians believe that a free medicine won’t work, so the clinic charges 10 cents for a prescription.”
Three years later, the clinic has two doctors and treats an average of 100 patients a day. They would like to move to a larger office to make room for a small lab.
The clinic is supported by Nikki, her sister Goldie Minhas, RN, also a nurse at VacaValley Hospital and another sister and their brother. Together, they are trying to improve lives in their homeland, one person at a time. Their ultimate dream remains – to operate a charity hospital in India.