WACO, Texas — With the help of a $900,000 grant from the Office of American Schools and Hospitals Abroad in November, Baylor University will help Bangalore Baptist Hospital in India build a women and children's health care and research center.

Shelby Garner, an assistant professor at Louise Herrington School of Nursing at Baylor University, said the agency chose India for a specific reason.

"While India has made a lot of strides in health care in recent years, it’s still a low and middle income country," Garner said. "Children there are three times more likely to die before the age of five than children that are in higher income countries."

With a population of about 13 million people, Banaglore is the third largest city in India, yet many don't have access to health care, Garner said.

Bangalore Baptist's outreach program includes about 1,700 villages and 12 different urban inner city impoverished areas.

The new additions will increase the number of existing beds to about 440, which target these impoverished areas. Practices of Pediatrics, Obstetrics, Neonatology and Gynecology will also be innovated, she said.

The new women and children's center will cater to people who have limited access to health care in their community. 

"We're not just building a building," Garner said. "We're really focused on building people and also guiding programs that are sustainable and will serve people for many years."

Baylor University and Bangalore Baptist Hospital have been partners for years. Garner said students from Baylor travel to India to serve, learn about their culture, and bring practices to help serve its diverse population

"We are partners and we're both grounded in Christian faith so it's really a very good partnership, and we're both focused on serving people," Garner said.

The total cost of building the center is about double the amount of the grant. Grant said Bangalore Baptist Hospital will help pay for it, while Baylor will cover salaries, travel costs and launching the programs.

Construction of the health care center is set to begin in 2019 and is expected to be completed by September 2022.

Looking ahead, Baylor also applied to a separate grant that would help fund smart classrooms and housing options for nursing students in India.