Rural communities confront with a number of hurdles to access hospital services and even if they do, there are many challenges that prevent them from receiving it. For instance, to get medical care, a rural resident needs to have the financial resources also to pay for it. At times it could be societal stigmas, lack of awareness, limited transportation and hospitals which becomes the reason why they cannot avail medical care.
However, Aahwahan Foundations’ unique and innovative mobile hospital van initiative “Health on Wheels,” is making a difference in the lives of many. For the past nine months the organisation has provided free medical care to people living in slums in Bengaluru and whole Karnataka who have limited or no access to health care.
The foundation was able to utilise their CSR programme with partnership of global software company “Citrix.” Apart from the Health on Wheels activities, Citrix has also worked for the welfare of students, educational institutions, society and so on. Their contribution during pandemic has gathered much attention among the people for helping the needy.
Braja Kishore Pradhan, Vice President of Aahwahan Foundation told News Karnataka, “We have seven mobile hospital van working all over India. This is a door-to-door initiative in which we provide hospital treatments, consultations, tests and medicine free of cost. Every month, around 4,000 people living in slums and villages benefit from this service provided by a single mobile hospital.”
The medical van will travel to various rural areas and the team of medical professionals visit at least three villages in a single day. He explained that the treatments are done in three segments. One is for paediatrics, the second is for general consultation, and the third is for the elderly to do their regular check-ups like hypertension, diabetes, blood test and so on.
All medical equipments are made available in the vans. Various types of tests, including blood tests, ECGs, and others, are also made accessible to the marginalised totally free of cost.
“People in villages are unable to go to the hospital, have a checkup, or do anything else mostly because they lack the financial means to do so. So, we have a wide range of doctors, including general physicians, paediatricians, gynaecologists, and skin specialists who lend a helping hand. We have a weekly schedule and thus visit the villages on the same day every week. People can consult the doctor on the assigned day just as they would in a hospital,” he added.
He also mentioned that the villagers don’t understand about the importance of personal hygiene or about possible treatment for their illness. The team makes an effort to educate them.
“Women, in particular, suffer health related issues and they lack in awareness as to what needs to be done. For instance, they might not know about how to care for themselves during pregnancy or after delivery. We can proudly say that as part of Health on Wheels, we have completed 33 delivery cases during Covid,” said Pradhan.
Pradhan went on to say that people can also avail their toll-free helpline number for hospital consultations or chat with doctors at any time.
Aahwahan Foundation recently began a new initiative to provide people with health kits that include thermometers, oximeters, shield masks, sanitisers, vitamin tablets and so on.
Initiatives like this are leading to large-scale changes in the development of a healthy society, particularly in rural areas. Thus, the organisation aims to continue helping people the same way in the coming years too.