GlaxoSmithKline: Nurse Training in Tamil Nadu
In the aftermath of the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, GSK is providing USD 133,509 of funding from June 2007 to June 2009 to help Sri Ramakrishna Math, a local NGO in the Chennai region of Tamil Nadu, to enroll an additional 420 local girls in its Nursing Training Course. Sri Ramakrishna Math Chennai, in partnership with Direct Relief International, had already conducted extensive relief work in the area immediately after the tsunami, providing medicines, food, shelter and clothing. The impact of the tsunami in the coastal regions was significant, with an estimated 500 fatalities and 150,000 people displaced from their homes, which created a huge extra demand for trained health professionals. Sri Ramakrishna Math Chennai developed its Nursing Assistant Training Course to help address staffing shortages and strengthen the local healthcare infrastructure as part of a long-term relief and rehabilitation strategy. The girls are selected from very poor, outlying agricultural and fishing villages. Many of them have completed their secondary schooling but, due to family financial restrictions, are unable to continue further. In most cases, they are the first in their families to receive higher education and the nurse training gives them hope of employment outside the depressed traditional fishing and agricultural industries. The success of the project is reflected in the high demand for their skills on completion of their training. The newly-qualified nurses have been quickly absorbed into nearby hospitals, where they are able to earn a decent salary and receive free room and board, thus raising their own economic status.