Mobile Medical Units Improving Access To Quality Healthcare

( January 28, 2020 )

From Helpage India to Paryas Society, from Wockhardt Foundation’s MOBILE1000 to Niira Radia’s Nayati Healthcare, Mobile Medical Units are reaching the remote parts of India

From the mountains of Himalayas to the backwaters of Kerala – India as a country has a diversified population spread over an area of 3.28 million km2. As such, healthcare accessibility over the entire country is rather skewed – resulting in people flocking to major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai.

Thus, to ensure a decentralized approach to healthcare, Mobile Medical Units are often set up to ensure accessible healthcare. Offering essential services, Mobile Medical Units have helped mobilize healthcare to ‘conduct screenings, basic diagnosis and sometimes complex medical treatments closer to people’s homes’. The same, in effect, can be imagined across all terrains, communities, and socio-economic groups – all with minimum expenditure and relatively lesser operational bottlenecks.

Listed below are a few ways MMUs have impacted the country’s healthcare segment:

Health improvement in rural areas
Disease-Specific care in the country
Obstetric and Gynaecological care for pregnant women and mothers
Trauma and Accident care
Reducing burden from urban health centres and metropolitan cities
Prescribe and Provide medication
Controlling spread of diseases or epidemics
Disease awareness and Family/Community counselling

To understand the impact of MMUs, let us take a look at a few Mobile healthcare initiatives in India:

Nayati Healthcare, Niira Radia

With respect to MMUs, Niira Radia led Nayati Healthcare has a rather unique Hub-Spoke-MMU model that offers healthcare services to the most far-flung locations of Uttar Pradesh, Eastern Rajasthan and Uttarakhand. Nayati Healthcare started its journey in 2012 from the pious grounds of Badrinath with 4 mobile medical units and a team of 36 paramedics and doctors. It is India’s first healthcare organization to bring tertiary & quaternary level healthcare to Tier-II & Tier-III cities, which has been long neglected. The group current operates multi-super speciality hospitals, Nayati Medicity in Mathura (377 bedded) and Nayati Hospital in Agra (60 bedded) in Uttar Pradesh. The last mile connectivity to the most remote villages which are devoid of even the basic healthcare facilities is provided by its fleet of Mobile Medical Units (MMUs). These fully equipped MMUs are manned by a team of over 100 paramedics, doctors and support staff, who work round the clock to deliver healthcare to the communities in the hinterlands. Talking about Nayati’s mission, Ms Radia says, “A huge portion of the Indian population die from preventable diseases and infections. In order to avoid this, it is necessary to make quality healthcare accessible to all. Nayati Healthcare has been working towards that since the start and has been able to touch the lives of more than 2 million people through their outreach activities.”

“Mobile Medical Units, are an integral part of our strategy to reach out to people living in the remote and underserved locations. The MMUs have been facilitators not just in fulfilling the objectives of taking healthcare to the doorstep of the communities but also promoting health awareness amongst the masses”.

Helpage India, NGO

HelpAge India, an NGO which specifically helps the elderly, runs 144 MMUs across 24 states in India, and 11 across seven districts in Himachal Pradesh. The MMU initiative by Helpage India targets the villages identified as having poor health infrastructure or being backward through a baseline survey.

“MMUs visit 5-12 of these villages consistently on the same day each week,” said Manoj Verma, social protection officer at HelpAge India’s Solan unit. “This helps us build trust within the community,” he adds. The initiative is further welcomed by the locals as it eliminates the terrain-limitation in the mountains.

Mobile Medical Unit operated by Helpage India in Kalihatti, Shimla

Smile on Wheels, Smile Foundation

Governed by the philosophy – where every smile counts, Mobile1000 aims at reaching the rural community through professional healthcare delivery. Mobile 1000 Vans are operating across the country, providing medical aid to over 25,000 patients per year per van. It has helped over 171.47 lakh patients with free medicines.

Mobile1000 provides services in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Jammu, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.

Mobile1000 also recently launched its 200th healthcare van under the aegis of its Trustee & CEO, Sir Dr. Huz (Dr. Huzaifa Khorakiwala)

Smile on Wheels, Smile Foundation

Smile on Wheel is a national level multi-centric project commenced by SMILE Foundation with an objective to provide an all-inclusive range of healthcare services to the underprivileged communities in the remote rural areas and slums through an equipped mobile medical van. The initiative focuses on providing a wide range of primitive, preventive and curative health services to the underprivileged.

Its main aim is to reach out directly to more than 3 lakh people, cover more than 20 lakh population through 30 Smile on Wheels in various cities of India.