Bringing healthcare to the doorsteps of Delhi slum dwellers

Delhi has the highest percentage of urban population in the country, with 15.3% living below the poverty line. Continuous influx of migrants from all corners of the country has resulted in mushrooming of several urban poor settlements. As per the estimates of Economic Survey of Delhi, these areas serve as home to more than half of the total population of Delhi.

These residents lack access to most of the basic public amenities that are essential for decent living. Compared to other states, Delhi has a well-developed health infrastructure. However, to cater to a population so huge, the public health service delivery system alone becomes insufficient. From increasing Neonatal, Infant and Child Mortality rates to low nutritional status of women and children, degrading maternal health, and spread of preventable and vector borne diseases, the overall health condition of the poor in Delhi is grim and demands attention.

Lack of access to safe water and toilet facilities in many of the slum clusters has further increased the vulnerability of the urban populate to diseases. Beyond these, the absence of health-seeking behavior among the people adds to the risks of sickness, deaths, lower worker productivity, lower enrollment of children in schools and retention rates.

Intervention

In order to take care of the healthcare needs of the underprivileged population, Smile Foundation intervened and launched a Smile on Wheels project in New Delhi. The project being implemented was initiated in 2014 in partnership with St. Stephen’s Hospital.

The objective of the project is to provide the much-needed healthcare services to underprivileged community in New Delhi’s urban slums through fully equipped mobile hospitals. With special focus on women and children, Smile on Wheels takes healthcare to the doorsteps of the urban poor and provides free promotive, preventive and curative health services.

Staffed with a qualified doctor, nurse, lab technician, pharmacist, community mobilizer and project coordinator the mobile hospital is committed to provide free-of-cost medical consultation and diagnosis, besides medicines and lab testing facilities. In addition to these, community awareness sessions are being conducted on vital issues pertaining to child, mother and family health. During these sessions, topics like family planning, proper dietary habits, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation were discussed to inculcate a health-seeking behavior among the people.

Project Highlights

  • The project operates on the eastern and northern fringes of Delhi and Ghaziabad delivering free healthcare at the doorsteps of the underserved population.

  • As a major focus, the project has been covering the homeless, slum dwellers, migrants, daily wage earners and rickshaw pullers in clusters like Yamuna Pushta, Mansarovar Park, Rani Garden, Kalyanvas, Mori Gate, Motia Khan, Majnu Ka Tila, Shastri Nagar, Dilshad Garden, Shastri Park, and Nand Nagri.

  • Smile on Wheels mobile hospital is equipped with a pathological laboratory, doctor’s cabin, ECG, nebuliser, medicines etc.

  • School health programme is also included under the project that covers IEC sessions, clinical services, health check-ups, investigations, child to child health skills training, counseling and health talks.

  • Special health camps are organized on targeted locations to complement the Smile on Wheels in providing healthcare services.

IMPACT

A TOTAL 156 OPDS ORGANIZED

TOTAL NUMBER OF FEMALE AND CHILD BENEFICIARIES WERE 5497

74 PATHOLOGICAL TESTS WERE CONDUCTED SO FAR.

A TOTAL OF 6537 PEOPLE BENEFITED FROM THE HEALTH CARE SERVICES PROVIDED