India fix for pair of health care junkies

Nicki and Brian Hurwitz. Picture: Bruce Hunt d399118
Nicki and Brian Hurwitz. Picture: Bruce Hunt d399118

It was the husband and wife team’s third trip to India as volunteers with Perth-based health aid organisation Equal Health.

On their latest trip the couple, with their daughter Sydney-based paediatrician Romy plus a team of 46 health professional volunteers, provided free health care to more than 7000 people in need of dental, medical, optical and other care.

The couple have about 40 years of experience in their own professions, Mr Hurwitz as a dentist and Mrs Hurwitz as a speech pathologist.

Mr Hurwitz said the pair decided to join the Equal Health team and travelled to India as volunteers for the first time in 2009.

‘We didn’t know what to expect,’ he said. ‘When we got there it was like a sensory overload.

‘But we came home buzzing and more appreciative of our own lives.’

The couple stayed in rural West Bengal, where people live in poverty and have no access to health care.

Mrs Hurwitz said the allied health care professionals worked from Anandaniketan, a not-for-profit refuge that houses people with physical, mental and intellectual disabilities.

‘There are more than 300 adults and children, men and women, at the refuge who are severely disabled,’ she said.

‘They are predominantly orphaned children and there are a lot of heart-rending cases. People with disabilities generally are pushed away from society over there, especially girls, but that is slowly changing.’

There is an Equal Health fundraiser to help support the health care needs of developing countries on May 3 at Subiaco Football Club.