Health Care

“He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything”

India has made rapid strides in the health sector since independence.
However, various eye opening data from NFHS clearly indicate that access to healthcare still remains a challenge.

In a country where more than 90% elders have to work in order to survive, affording quality medical care is a far dream. People are living longer, the Oldest Old, those 80 plus, are estimated to reach 53 million by 2050. 88% of the Oldest Old (80+) suffer from chronic ailments such as hypertension, asthma, arthritis, heart problems etc.

While the health statistics of rural India continue to be poor, the health status and access to health for the poor in urban slum dwellers has surfaced to be equally deplorable and have less than 4% of government primary healthcare facilities.

Dr M Chandrasekhar International Foundation Mobile Healthcare program seeks to provide sustainable healthcare solutions to destitute elders and their community where these are none available through its Mobile Healthcare Units (MHUs). Each MHU has a doctor, pharmacist and a social worker. These MHUs go into the interiors of urban slums and villages, bringing healthcare virtually at the doorsteps of these destitute elders. For most elders it saves them from the long lines at hospitals which are also situated far from their communities and they get free medication on a monthly basis. Their Individual patient card keeps a record of their treatment and helps monitor their progress.

Urban slum dwellers suffer from adverse health conditions owing to mainly two reasons –first the lack of education and thus lack of awareness; and second the unwillingness to lose a day’s wage in order to reach the nearest medical facility. Healthcare for underprivileged, which is a desperate need, thus remains unaddressed.

The MHUs have also become awareness generating sites, with the social worker empowering the disadvantaged elder with information on various diseases, along with educating them on the various preventive measures that can be taken to prevent the onset of any deadly disease. Dr M Chandrasekhar International Foundation MHU service has been recognized as Asia’s largest mobile healthcare network for elders. Currently, 172 MHUs are servicing 1920 community locations, spread over 25 states, and have provided 3.1 million treatments.

Last year (2018-19) our teams held menstrual awareness sessions with more than 400 adolescent girls and women in slums, shelter homes, government schools in Delhi/NCR alone (apart from similar ongoing menstrual hygiene work in rural India). Many of these young girls move to cities from villages.and end up in slums with little or no sanitation facilities. Lack of menstrual hygiene knowledge and other challenges further turns menstruation into a monthly disaster for them.. The culture of shame and silence around this issue is a blatant violation of a woman’s human right of dignity and well being.

The need of the hour is thus a two pronged approach – first to bring quality healthcare services to doorsteps of the needy and second to promote healthcare awareness and contemporary healthcare seeking behavior among the underprivileged.

In such a scenario a mobile healthcare services delivery system is the most practical mechanism. And in subscription to this view, Dr M Chandrasekhar International Foundation has initiated the Dr M Chandrasekhar International Foundation on Wheels programme. This is a unique mobile hospital programme that seeks to address problems of mobility, accessibility and availability of primary healthcare with a special focus on children and women, in urban slums and remote rural areas.

The Dr M Chandrasekhar International Foundation on Wheels programme has so far provided free healthcare services to more than 19,52,000 children and families.

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