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: Overseas Volunteers ::

INFORMATION FOR VOLUNTEERS

Wanless Hospital, Miraj Medical Centre;Miraj, District Sangli; 416410, Maharashtra, India (updated September 2005)

Dr. Deepak Kamle, MS, FACS, FCAMS, Director, Phones: Director’s Residence: 011-91-233-2211286

(from USA) Director’s Office: 011-91-233-2222548. FAX: 011-91-233-2223413 (from USA)

E-mail: san_whmmc@sancharnet.in

When telephoning, remember the time in India is 10-1/2 hours ahead

of USA Eastern Standard Time(EST) and 9-1/2 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.

For example, 12:00 noon EST is 10:30 pm that night in India.

FAX messages and e-mails can be received any time.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The Wanless Hospital had its beginning as a small dispensary started in 1890 in the Miraj (Meer’-udge) Bazaar by Dr. William Wanless, pioneer Presbyterian medical missionary. The first of the present buildings was opened in 1894. Today it has grown to meet the pressing medical needs of the area into a large complex institution of over 300 beds, the Miraj Medical Centre (MMC). The Miraj Medical Centre functions under a unique agreement with the State Government as a private Christian teaching hospital attached to a government medical college. In addition, it maintains an accredited College of Nursing, an Institute of Pharmacy, and diploma courses for x-ray, laboratory, and medical records technicians. It works closely with the Richardson Leprosy Hospital.

In addition to basic services in medicine, surgery, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, the medical center has developed a range of specialties including cobalt therapy for cancer, manufacture of orthopaedic appliances and prostheses, burn treatment and plastic surgery, cardiology and cardiac surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, high risk obstetrical care, and treatment of kidney failure by haemodialysis and kidney transplantation. Miraj is the only such medical center for 15 million people within a radius of 150 miles.

In addition to such specialized hospital care, the center has pioneered in health professional education, in community health education, preventive and basic health services in six surrounding villages through the very active Department of Community Health.

The hospital is staffed by skilled Indian doctors, nurses and paramedical workers. However, there are many situations in which qualified, short-term specialists from abroad can be of great assistance. Your role as a volunteer would be primarily that of working with a counterpart on the Miraj staff, sharing new techniques or different insights. This would help to upgrade the capability of the particular individual or department. In turn you would learn much about the challenges of health care in a developing country, and

about the people and culture of India. You are encouraged to bring updating professional talks on slides, overhead transparencies or power-point presentation for medical seminars.

LOCATION

Miraj is located about 280 miles (twelve hours by train) south and inland from the city of Mumbai (Bombay), on the border of the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka. On a map you will find it 150 miles directly south of Pune (Poona) and near the city of Kolhapur. The population of Miraj is about 150,000 of which about 60% are Hindus, 38% Muslims and 2% Christians. The setting is rural. Known since the days of Dr. Wanless for its medical facilities, Miraj has become a pilgrimage town for the sick and the suffering. It is also known throughout India for the manufacture of the sitar - a handmade stringed musical instrument.

WEATHER

The weather in Miraj is much like that of Southern California. The temperature is moderate throughout the year except in the hot season months, March to May, when it is often over 100F. However, even in the hot season, the nights are relatively cool because of very low humidity, and 1900 ft. elevation. The monsoon rains arrive around mid-June and continue until the end of September. The temperature drops considerably, the skies are cloudy most of the time, but we do not actually have a lot of rain in this area. The cool season lasts from October through January, when a light sweater or jacket is useful. The days are sunny and warm but it is chilly early in the morning and at night, with minimum temperatures of 50-55F.

VISA REQUIREMENTS

You should apply several months in advance through your travel agent for an ordinary tourist visa. An application can also be downloaded from the web at http://www.indianconsulate-sf.org. This is good for four months from the day of your arrival in India with possible extension for another two months. For the purpose of your visit you should only state that you are going to visit the Miraj Medical Centre and other points of interest in India, not that you are going to work in the hospital, etc.

TRAVEL TO MIRAJ

Flight to Mumbai: Mumbai is our nearest international airport. Many of the major airlines offer special rates to tourists for a stay of up to four months in India. Be sure to have your travel agent check several possible routes and airlines to get the best fare.

As soon as your travel plans are complete, preferably at least a month before your expected arrival in Mumbai, inform the Director, Miraj Medical Centre by e-mail, fax, or post (allow 2-3 weeks for an air-mail letter.) about :

1. Airline, flight number, date and time of arrival in Mumbai.

2. Whether you wish to be met at the airport by a representative of the UCBWM (United Church Board of World Ministries) for a small fee.

3. What reservations you want us to make for your stay in Mumbai

4. What reservations you need for travel Mumbai to Miraj to Mumbai. Name, age and sex of each person are required for reservations. This must be done several weeks in advance.

5. Be sure to include your complete contact information, including telephone number, e-mail address, and fax number if available.

The Director’s Office will make the reservations through the UCBWM in Mumbai and will confirm to you. Except for air tickets, you can pay after arrival in India.

AT SAHAR INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, MUMBAI

Changing Money: As you go through Immigration and Customs you will see official counters for changing money. Change $50-$100 in travelers checks or US dollars into Indian rupees. The current rate (Y2K) is about Rs. 45 per dollar. The use of US dollars or getting them exchanged by unauthorized persons is illegal. Be sure to get enough small bills (5 and 10 rupees) to use for taxis, tips, etc. Remember that the purchasing power of the rupee in India is far more than the 2 cents it is worth against the dollar.

Getting a Taxi: After finishing with Immigration and Customs, as you approach the exit, a mob of people will be waiting outside. You will pass a Taxi Reservation Booth. Stop here. Give the name of your hotel and pay the taxi fare which they indicate (using your new rupees!) They will give you a paper with the number of your prepaid taxi. When you get outside, sit in that taxi. If the person from the UCBWM is meeting you, he will be out here holding up a sign with your name. He can help you find your taxi and fight off the people who want to carry your bags. He will accompany you to your hotel.

STAY IN MUMBAI

Most international flights arrive in Mumbai between 1:00AM and 4:00 AM. It takes 1-2 hours to complete the airport formalities. If you plan to go on to Miraj by the day train, we recommend you will need to stay in Mumbai at least until the next day, because of early morning departure.

Ambassador Hotel: This is a good medium priced hotel conveniently located in downtown Mumbai. Also, the Diplomat Hotel and West End Hotel.

Or

YMCA International House: Another good place to stay, located at Mumbai Central (Railroad Station) run by the YMCAs. Lodging & Boarding at very reasonable rates. Tel: 23070601/02/03

Or

Methodist Home: Simple but clean. Less than half the cost of Ambassador Hotel, located near Mumbai Central, across the street from YMCA. Breakfast served. Tel: 23098570.

Or

Church Mission (CM) House: Low-priced dorm.,Breakfast served. Tel: 23871782.

The stay in the hotel costs around $50-$200 depending upon the place you are choosing. YMCA is about $25 per person per night, including buffet breakfast & supper with private bath and AC.

UCBWM:

This office in Mumbai is maintained by missions and churches working in India. You will need to pick up your train or plane tickets from them, or they can deliver the tickets to your hotel/YMCA. They can help in cashing travelers’ checks or other business matters. They are open from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM on weekdays. If you are to be in Mumbai only on a weekend, you must ask Dr. Deepak Kamle, Director, MMC to arrange for delivery of tickets to you at the airport or your hotel.

Manager: Mr. S.K. Solomon; Mr. Mohan Luke is usually making reservations, etc.

Address: UCBM, Lawrence & Mayo House, 3rd Floor, 276, Dr. D.N. Road,

Flora Fountain, Mumbai 400 001. Mailing address: PO Box 92, Mumbai-1.

Telephone: From Mumbai: 22071593 or 22070772

From USA: 011-91-22-22071593 or 011-91-22-22070772

FAX: 011-91-22-22002833

TRAVEL MUMBAI TO MIRAJ

1) TRAVEL BY AIR :-

DECCAN AVIATION (MUMBAI) :-

Bomby Branch Office :-
Postal Address :- Hanger # 8, Juhu Aerodrome, Mumbai 400049.
Email - ID :- 1. daplmum@vsnl.net
mumbai@deccanair.com

Web Site :- www.deccanair.com

Fax & Mobile :- 1. 022-26611602

2. 98202-31665

3. 98200-02303

2) TRAVEL BY TRAIN :-

You will take one of several trains from CST (earlier called VT i.e. Victoria Terminus):

Name of Train Departs From Departure Time Arrival in Miraj

Koyna Express, #7307 Mumbai CST 8:30AM 7:50 PM same day

Sahyadri Express,#7303 Mumbai CST 5:30 PM 4:00 AM next day

Mahalaxmi Express#1011 Mumbai CST 8:25 PM 7:05 AM next day

For first-time visitors the day train (Koyna Express) is suggested for seeing the country. On the night train (Mahalaxmi Express) you can get a berth in an air-conditioned car with pillow, clean linens & bedding included. For either train, reservation is essential. When traveling on the day train, request a sandwich lunch from the hotel or guesthouse. Mineral water and soft drinks are available for purchase on the train. You’ll be met at Miraj Railway Station by the hospital personnel. Return reservations to Mumbai can also be made from Miraj. Arrival times in Bombay (same trains) are: 9:15 pm, 12:30 pm, & 06:35 am, respectively for Koyna (#7308), Sahyadri (#7304) and Mahalaxmi (#1012).

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