The Health Van, part of CSR activities of Essar Group, will provide free medical consultations and medicines to the residents of 25 villages across Dantewada and Sukma districts, the hotbed of Naxalism in the state. Equipped with a doctor, a staff nurse and a lab technician, it will provide preventive, curative and promotive healthcare services through general OPDs.
The van, which acts as a hospital on wheels, will also make patient referrals to the public healthcare system, connecting villagers with the primary and community healthcare centres. These villages are located in extreme interiors of the “Red Corridor”. Naxalism, along with the tough terrain, remains a major stumbling block in development in this region, making access and reach a distant reality.
“Our endeavour is to make healthcare available at the last mile and bring every individual under the ambit of care,” said Mr. Sharad Agarwal, CEO, HLFPPT. “In our pursuit for delivering sustainable impact among communities, we are constantly forging local partnerships. For this initiative, we are particularly banking on the incredible spirit of mitanins – rural community health workers – and are hopeful that their support will give this programme a greater leverage,” he added.
“It’s a big day for us,” said Alka Sahu, a mitanin from Sukma, commonly known as Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) in rest of the country. “We work in tribal-dominated, forest-covered isolated villages where it is near-impossible to either get doctors to villages or take patients to health facilities frequently. Women die during labour and malnourished children pass away due to fever or other illnesses,” she added.
“The health van would hopefully make a big difference in improving child and maternal health,” she said, exuding confidence.
Sahu was among the 250 mitanins from Sukma district who were given orientation training by HLFPPT about the health van during the event. The trainers shared Route Plan Chart of the health van with mitanins to keep them equipped with prior information about its visit to their respective villages.
Highlighting the edge mitanins have in influencing their communities, Mr. Deepak David, DGM (CSR), Essar Group Foundation, said their (mitanins) role would be pivotal in the success of such an initiative in an area marked by inaccessibility and difficult terrain.
The Health Van, launched last week, heralds yet another step by HLFPPT to bridge the gap of access and affordability for quality healthcare among the unserved communities. The non-profit organisation, promoted by HLL Lifecare Ltd (HLL), has been working for the last 22 years to improve the healthcare scenario, particularly Reproductive and Child Health, across the country.
In Chhattisgarh, it has initiated Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) Programme, with funding support from Essar Group Foundation under its CSR obligation. It has launched an MMU in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan for Suzlon Energy Ltd. It is also operating MMUs in Kerala and West Bengal through multiple partnerships with the state and corporates.
Through a slew of programmes, HLFPPT has extended its footprints in 23 states, offering quality and affordable healthcare solution to the poor and needy, especially in inaccessible areas.