Smile on Wheels, Patan, Gujarat

The state of Gujarat has being doing exceptionally good on the economic and developmental parameters. Though the Human Development Index is also average, the living conditions of the rural populace tell a different story. The rural sections of the society do not have access to basic amenities like education and healthcare. Despite the high economic growth, malnutrition remains a major problem in these underprivileged regions. Hot arid climate and scarce rainfall makes it difficult to cope with these shortcomings.

Also the sex ratio in the state is one of the lowest in the country. Lack of proper education has resulted in unawareness and negligence of the reproductive health issues in women. In the name of socio-cultural norms, women have to deliver children at home without the aid of qualified and trained medical help. Also, the regions have high child mortality ratio due to widespread diseases like diarrhoea, malaria and respiratory tract infections.

INTERVENTION

In partnership with Cairn India Limited, Smile Foundation initiated the Smile on Wheels project to the needs of the neglected rural populace in two districts of Gujarat – Patan and Banaskantha. Twenty villages from three blocks – Radhanpur, Kankarej and Harij have been identified under the project. Beginning October 11, 2012, the initiative aims to provide basic healthcare services to the socio-economically disadvantaged sections in these areas, through a mobile health clinic.

Smile’s mobile health unit, provided with advanced medical equipments and competent staff, provides preventive and curative healthcare services in all the twenty villages. The success of the project’s awareness activities is evident from the growing numbers of women folk who now attend these programmes. Women in these villages have over time with the help of Smile foundation’s health services developed an understanding of healthy living.

The project has won praises from the community and local dignitaries, including the sarpanchs. The village panchayats have conferred appreciation certificates on Smile’s project team for the successfully brining a positive change in the health system.

Project Highlights

  • Periodical health camps with support from Anganwadi and ANM workers and Mobile health clinics enable delivery of medical services at the doorsteps of the underprivileged.

  • To address the maternal and reproductive health needs, a gynaecologist undertakes regular visits to pregnant women, who are reluctant to visit the mobile health van.

  • Antenatal and postnatal check-ups along with counselling on maternal health are conducted for the beneficiaries.

  • To spread awareness among the rural population and establish a rapport with the village community, regular awareness campaigns are conducted.

  • Children are engaged in awareness campaigns through video shows showcasing short films on subjects like dental hygiene, personal hygiene, healthy diet and ways to keep our surroundings clean.

  • Drawing and essay writing competitions on the topic of ‘disease-free village’ are also held to assess their understanding of the topic and develop a sense of responsibility in them.

IMPACT

IN 2014 , A TOTAL OF 12,000 PEOPLE BENEFITED FROM THE INITIATIVE

4500 STUDENTS RECEIVED BENEFIT FROM SCHOOLHEALTH PROGRAMS

OVER100 ICE ACTIVITIES WERE CONDUCTED LAST YEAR, BENEFITING MORE THAN 6500 PEOPLE

IN THE FIRST MONTH OF THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE STATIC CLINIC PROGRAM A TOTAL265 PEOPLE BENEFITED OF WHICH 57% BENEFICIARIESWERE WOMAN