Juanga Hospital

The Michael A. Daube Charitable Trust Hospital

Juanga, Odisha, India

In 1998, CITTA opened its first hospital in Odisha, India, one of the poorest states in the country, serving a population of approximately 190,000 and home to most of India’s tribal Adivasi people. With the addition of board president, Dr. Christopher Barley, a clinic started by founder Michael Daube expanded into a fully operational hospital. The hospital remains the only healthcare facility accessible to the surrounding villages. 

CITTA was made an official 501(c)(3) charity in September of 1998 and strengthened the organization’s vision by creating a strong board of directors, advisors, and supporters. 

A few short months later, the organization added an operating room to the Juanga Hospital. The addition brought surgery into a jungle region where few thought it was possible to maintain. Citta began to bring renowned surgeons from the capital of Odisha to the hospital monthly to perform the surgeries, saving the lives of those who would otherwise have died, or have been forced to live with their condition, as many could not afford to travel hundreds of miles for care.

The hospital has continued to grow for twenty years, increasing the capacity of patients and introducing programs specifically aimed at treating issues faced by women and children in the region.

Healthcare was the main focus of Citta until 1999.  A super cyclone, the biggest to hit the planet in 100 years landed on the coast where the Juanga hospital was located. Nearly 30,000 people perished in the storm. The hospital became a safe house and beacon of hope for villagers whose homes had been destroyed. 

In 2020, the hospital provided care for 8,933 patients.  The education and services we provide have helped reduce the number of those in need of emergency care every year. In 2021, CITTA is adding a pediatric wing to the hospital and reconstructing long-needed wash and restroom facilities.  

We have 22 staff members (including three general medicine physicians and three visiting surgeons performing gynecology, dentistry, and general surgery.) During the monsoon months (June-September), extreme heat, rain, and lack of sanitation bring many cases of dysentery and fever to the hospital. 

In 1998, with the support of Sharon and Marie Keegan from the UK, we received a grant to add an operating room. This facility is the only one of its kind in the region. 

Along the way…

Through the generous donations and continued support of The Leir Foundation, we have been able to construct and run the Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Women’s Center. The state of Odisha has the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in India. CITTA now provides safe deliveries at our center as well as education on pre- and post-natal healthcare, hygiene, and nutrition for families.

In 2006, medical student Nick Bernthal volunteered at the hospital and became very familiar with all of the issues facing the region. Nick returned to the US to start the now amazing organization Drops Fill Buckets. After Bernthal saw how difficult it was to entice qualified medical staff to stay in a jungle region, the first project that Drops Fill Buckets undertook was to build CITTA, an amazing two-story staff-quarters complex.

In 2008, medical student Ari Kreigsman volunteered in Juanga and saw the need for sanitation to reduce the high levels of dysentery, hepatitis A, and typhoid plaguing the region. Through fundraising with family and friends, he was able to construct a toilet complex to help educate the locals on the importance of sanitary hygiene as none of the village homes have a toilet. The villagers are not only using this community toilet complex now, but they are also keeping it well-maintained.

Considered family to the hospital and staff, Marta Miquel Faig is an emergency doctor working from an ambulance in Barcelona. When she has time off, she visits the Juanga Hospital and provides tremendous care for the communities during her visits! She has organized the Badia School in Spain to link with our students in Juanga, organized equipment and donations for the hospital, and has spent many hours sharing ideas and building better, more efficient working structures for the hospital staff. She has run numerous educational programs in the local villages and schools, helping them understand better ways to deal with trauma in the most effective and expedited way and showing them how to safely bring patients to the hospital for care.  She has brought colleagues with skills to run eye camps (carrying suitcases full of glasses as excess luggage) and other health-related programs. Now Marta says she would like to visit our hospital in the Himalayas!

In October 2011, Columbia University Business School’s Pangea Advisors (www.pangeaadvisors.org) assisted CITTA by helping us assess the region in which we operate and find ways to increase support from the local communities. We are presently starting a community-based membership program for 20 Rs. /month (50 cents) that would allow coverage for up to seven family members for medical care in the event of an emergency. Even though we provide medical care at a highly reduced rate, families are burdened by any sudden amount they are required to pay. This program will give them peace of mind for their family’s future and financial stability.