Barefoot acupuncturists

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In big Indian cities, where pharmacies sell over-the-counter pills like sweets, many times patients are over medicated with regular side effects or they are too poor to afford quality treatment.

Regardless of the prevalence of clinics and medical shops in Dharavi, many slum inhabitants have insufficient access to healthcare: either it is too expensive, or not adapted to their problems.

By opening their clinic within the slum, the Barefoot Acupuncturists bring a local solution to Dharavi communities. Acupuncture is a worldwide used medicine, recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Safe, side effect free and low cost, it offers unique qualities to serve the poorest by making affordable and accessible to them an efficient healthcare.

In the Dharavi clinic, from its birth in January 2012 to October 2013, they have treated 650 patients. The clinic is handled by two Indian acupuncturists and one assistant. They have an average of 40 patients every day (3 days per week). They are planning next year to increase working days to 5 per week and to open in the evening in order to reach out to more beneficiaries.

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The nominal fee requested of each patient is 20 Indian rupees (US$0.35) per treatment even though the actual cost is actually Rs 120 (US$2); Barefoot Acupuncture has to pay the difference of Rs 100 (US$1.65) A treatment requires several sessions, from a few days for common problems to several months for severe illnesses.

In addition to providing treatments, each clinic also acts as a classroom where practitioners from India and several other countries teach and practice in the clinic. This supports the goal of developing local autonomy, producing clinics run by local practitioners who will in the future handle the day-to-day operations and hopefully take over the management.


From January 2012 to October 2013, Barefoot Acupunturists have treated 650 patients in Dharavi.

They have an average of 40 patients every day (3 days per week). Women, who deal with the large majority of heavy domestic tasks, represent 65% of the patients.

While acupuncture can treat many more disorders, physical pain makes up about 90% of the cases in the slum clinic. Barefoot also treats paralysis, neurological pathologies, digestive problems, sleep disorders, gynaecological diseases.

Phone: +91 98 92747556


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