Towson University student Mohammad Siddiqi says he was moved by the lack of basic medical facilities in the area.
An Indian American student at Towson University is spearheading an effort to build a primary health clinic in a remote village in Uttar Pradesh.
Mohammad Siddiqi, 21, is helping to build a clinic in the village of Santokha, in the Sandila district, 50 miles to the southwest of Lucknow, the Uttar Pradesh capital. Siddiqi’s parents Akhlaq and Anjum Siddiqi were born and grew up in the area before they moved to the United States decades ago.
There are no healthcare facilities in Santokha and villagers are forced to see quack doctors with no medical background that recommend hazardous “treatments,” Mohammad Siddiqi told The American Bazaar. His mission is to provide quality healthcare to the poor people in the village and neighboring areas, he added.
“After visiting my parents’ village for the first time, I realized there is very limited access to emergency medical services as well as a need for basic education regarding health practices in different situations, such as prenatal and postnatal care,” he said. “I hope to tackle these two needs with this clinic, which is already well into its development.”
Siddiqi, who is currently studying at Towson University with a major in accounting while interning part-time at Morgan Stanley as a finance analyst, has been able to raise $75,000 for the construction of the clinic so far.
His father, Akhlaq Siddiqi, works for the US Patent Office and his mother Anjum Siddiqi runs an assisted living facility in Gaithersburg, MD.
Although his studies and career plans are centered around accounting and finance — upon completing his undergraduate degree in May 2018, he plans to start an internship with Deloitte for Summer 2018 before pursuing a Master’s in Finance — Mohammad Siddiqi said he has developed a passion to help others not as fortunate.
Among other things, the clinic will screen patients for serious illnesses, such as heart diseases, cancer, blood diseases, eye diseases and kidney diseases, as well as treat common diseases including fever, malaria, tuberculosis, gastroenteritis, respiratory diseases and infections, he said. It will have curative, education and prevention programs.
Eventually, the clinic will have state-of-the-art diagnostic services, including X-ray, ultrasound and ECG, he added.
Siddiqi said a current challenge is building relationships with the local government as well as NGOs and healthcare professionals. Involvement of the local community and other stakeholders will ensure long-term viability of the project, he said.
Citing the assisted living facility his mother runs, Siddiqi said healthcare is a field that his family deeply cares about and has expertise in, and, considering his parents’ roots in the area, starting a clinic in the Sandila region was quite natural.
His father Akhlaq Siddiqi said the family has a strong emotional bond with the village and wanted to do something for the area. After a family visit a few years ago, Mohammad saw the condition of the villagers and decided to take the initiative in building the clinic, he said.
“In future we plan to build similar clinic in other parts of Uttar Pradesh by mobilizing other people of Uttar Pradesh origin,” Akhlaq Siddiqi said.