Akila Sayyed is the recipient of the Woman Exemplar Award 2016 in the field of Health, for her yeomen efforts in providing basic healthcare services and ensuring the well being of the marginalized in Pimperkhed village of Maharashtra.
Akila, fondly known as the ‘doctor who treats everyone for free’, among the villagers, was nominated by Comprehensive Rural Health Project (CRHP).
Financial conditions made it difficult for Akila to study after 10th grade, and at the age of 16 she was married off. While she was pregnant with her second child, she began experiencing hallucinations and delusions. Her family and community members thought she was possessed by an evil spirit and sought refuge in quack healers and magicians. She was later diagnosed with schizophrenia and received proper treatment in a psychiatric hospital.
On recovery, she joined CRHP and undertook training to become the only health worker in her village. Being a victim of superstitious beliefs herself, she understood the importance of medical treatment for everyone. This was a major motivation for her to start working as a village health worker.
With basic knowledge on diabetes, tuberculosis, common fever and cold, heart diseases, malnutrition, pregnancy issues, prenatal and antenatal care, child care etc, Akila provides basic treatment to more than 4500 people for free. That’s the largest number of beneficiaries reached out to among other health workers of CRHP.
Akila also attended to many deliveries and took them to the nearest hospital, which is almost 25 kms away from the village. She was instrumental in soliciting government funds to pave the road to hospital, and in providing electricity to every household in the village. She selflessly uses her knowledge to ensure the well-being of the villagers.
CII Foundation recognizes and appreciate Akila for her exemplary work in the Health category.