Owing to its rich culture, heritage and biodiversity, the western state of India, Gujarat is often referred to as the ‘Jewel of the West’. Apart from a flourishing tourism industry, the state also has opulence of minerals and wildlife. In the last decade, the state of Gujarat has set a benchmark in terms of industrial and infrastructural development. Though high on development, the state has not been able to keep its social development indicators healthy.
In a time when the state’s economic model is being studied and implemented by other states, the rural population is still struggling for its basic needs. People inhabiting the rural regions have little access to proper healthcare services, besides basic education and employment. This scenario is similar in many districts and one such example is Jamnagar, better known for being home to the headquarters of Reliance Industries, one of the largest private industries of the country.
In wake of the poor healthcare system, Smile Foundation in a joint venture with Cairn India Limited initiated its mobile hospital programme, ‘Smile on Wheels’, on October 5, 2011. It was launched in 24 villages under the Khambhaliya, Kaliyanpur and Lalpur blocks of Jamnagar district. The programme was intended to deliver medical services at the doorsteps of the underprivileged sections of the society. Under the programme, specific lab tests are conducted whenever required so that people can be given disease-specific treatment. For sustainability of the project, community is involved so that they can adopt healthy practices.
During the initial stages, the project faced several challenges like low turnout of women, lack of interest among the villagers, and trust deficit; but over time these hindrances have been overcome. Now the participation of villagers in regular medical check-ups has increased many folds. The success of the project is evident from the tremendous support it received from the villagers and the appreciation certificates conferred by the village panchayats.
‘Preventive and curative medical services are provided to people and health awareness campaigns delivered through ‘Smile on Wheels’.
As a part of the programme, accessible and affordable healthcare services are provided in 24 villages.
Awareness campaigns on personal hygiene, basic health and sanitation are regularly conducted.
Audio-visual tools like charts, CDs, movies and engaging activities like group discussions and street plays are used for spreading awareness among the people.
The programme has reached out to a larger rural population, which includes women and children.
Working together with government initiatives like ASHA, Anganwadi and ANM workers to provide utmost benefit to the people.
Campaigns like AIDS awareness programmes and blood-detection and donation camps are also organised.
The ‘Healthy Child Competition’ is an innovative concept that has been introduced to promote a health-seeking attitude among the young generation of the underprivileged populace.
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