Medical help at doorsteps with ‘Smile on Wheels’

Global Gujrat News (15 March 2013)

Ahmedabad : Even in a relatively more developed state like Gujarat, villagers suffer at times due to absence of medical infrastructure in vicinity and lack of accessibility to major centres. The state having good roads too may not be much of help at times as medical emergencies warrant immediate medical intervention.

Sensing the need, a Delhi-based NGO Smile Foundation has launched Smile On Wheels (SOW), a mobile hospital programme that aims to address the common problems of accessibility to primary health care with a special focus on children and women, not just in urban slums but also in remote rural areas as well.

The Smile on Wheels operates by taking a well-equipped mobile hospital unit along with specialised doctors, nurses, medical staff, equipment and medicines to villages and slums in cities of Gujarat.

Puja Trisal, General Manager (Programmes) of Smile Foundation, shared her views with GGN reporter S Krishnan.

“Our two-pronged approach puts a priority on delivering quality healthcare services to doorsteps of the needy, followed by promoting healthcare awareness among the poor. Our mobile hospital programme has a special emphasis on children and women,” read the email message from Puja Trisal, General Manager (Programmes) of Smile Foundation.

Launched in 2009 in Ahmedabad, the Smile on Wheels (SoW) initiative using three vehicles is rendering healthcare services in over 48 remote villages and urban slums of District Ahmedabad, Jamnagar, Patan and Bansakantha and reaching more than 1,00,000 population.

The ‘Smile on Wheels’ vehicles are equipped with all the facilities to provide wide healthcare services including advanced laboratory facilities (semi auto analyser), X-Ray machine with facility of auto film developer, ECG machine, life-support system, refrigerator, power back-up with digitised distribution system and air-conditioning system.

“We work on the principle of a very old and wise saying prevention is better than cure. We sensitise the poor about preventive services, the objective being to create health-seeking behaviour in the community as a whole”, Trisal further said in her mail.