Hospital on wheels for spreading smiles

The Hindu (18 March 2010)

Smile Foundation, a national level development organisation, on Thursday launched its second innovative mobile hospital for providing comprehensive health care services at the door steps of marginalised communities in Delhi and the National Capital Region.
“Smile on Wheels” is a health care van that will provide medical treatment and check up to needy people, particularly children and women. A full-time doctor and para-medical staff will travel in van equipped with electro-cardio gram and X-ray with dark room. The mobile van will ply in Kalyanpuri, Khichripur, Trilokpuri and Dallupura in East Delhi and Noida.

Flagging off the van at Constitution Club here, Batra Hospital and Medical Research Centre CEO Sanjeev Bagai pointed out that 80 per cent of the healthcare is privately driven, 40 per cent of children under five years are malnourished and over 1 million deaths are reported annually in the country.

“In such a staggering scenario, this initiative by Smile Foundation will bridge the gap and help in facilitating affordable, accessible and accurate health care services to all sections of society.”

“With a population of 1.2 billion people, providing health care services to each and every citizen is a herculean task. We need more than 7 lakh beds in hospitals. Therefore, the Government must work in partnership with private hospitals,” said Dr. Bagai, who is a senior paediatrician.

Pointing out that the mobile van will be operated by her Noida-based A Ray Of Hope (AROH) Foundation, its president Neelam Gupta said Smile on Wheels will bring affordable, integrated and clinically advanced quality healthcare services within the reach of underprivileged people in urban slums and rural areas of Delhi and Noida.

“The urbanised slums in East Delhi and Noida are thickly populated and are lacking in infrastructure. People are living in small shabby rooms and healthcare provided by private hospitals is beyond their reach. We will provide exploitative free healthcare service and will tie-up with some private hospitals to provide treatment to patients in advanced stage,” added Dr. Gupta.

Talking on the role of public-private partnerships to cater to the needs of society, Smile Foundation Director Operations Nandan Sahay said the mobile hospital was a means to reach out to the deprived sections of our society who suffer in silence.

“Most of them are migrants who come with infection or some disease that later on becomes full blown. We also want to create awareness about various diseases through the mobile van,” he added.