~AthenaHealth supports running of Smile on Wheels mobile healthcare unit in Chennai~
30 August 2021, Chennai: AthenaHealth has come forward to support Smile Foundation’s Health Cannot Wait campaign to strengthen public health infrastructure and provide primary healthcare to people. AthenaHealth has supporting the running of Smile on Wheels mobile healthcare unit in Chennai, which will provide primary healthcare services in an area of Chennai with around 17,600 households and 88,000 people.
Smile on Wheels is a national-level mobile hospital program catering to underprivileged children and women. The program takes well-equipped medical vans along with specialized doctors, nurses, medical staff, and medicines to identified villages and slums in a systematic manner.
The objective of the program is to ensure improved health services reach the doorstep of people residing in unserved or underserved areas. The Smile Foundation on Wheels program has so far provided free healthcare services to more than 1.5 million children and families.
Smile on Wheels vans cover rural or slum areas where either no government health care facilities exist or where those that do exist do not provide sufficient care for the population. Each unit covers the vicinity of up to 25 kms from its center and visits 2-3 villages a day on a regular basis. In emergency cases, it functions as a referral clinic and an ambulance. The vans are stationed in an urban center, usually with a static hospital, which provisions like a referral medical center. The team also carries out awareness activities on health and hygiene to achieve health seeking behavior.
The services provided include OPD, ante-natal/post-natal services, identification of difficult pregnancy and referral for institutional care, immunizations, minor surgery, BP examination, X-ray, ECG, first aid, distribution of Iron folic tablets, Vit-A prophylaxis, and treatment of mal-nutrient cases. The built-in referral network includes both public and private providers and although care is not free, it is heavily subsidized. Smile on Wheels moves in areas with concentration of underprivileged people. Through optimization in resource utilization the cost is kept to the minimum. On average, the units under SOW charge INR 10 for OPD, whereas basic blood and urine tests are done at as low as INR 25.
The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken India and seems to be even more devastating than the first. Fighting the new, more infectious variant of the virus, frontline health workers are working round the clock even as hospitals run out of beds and oxygen supply, and thousands succumb to preventable deaths. India has become the second-worst affected country, with more than 28 million cases, and more than 349,000 deaths.
During this time of need, Smile Foundation has come forward with its ‘Health Cannot Wait’ campaign to strengthen public health infrastructure.
Santanu Mishra, Co-Founder, and Executive Trustee, Smile Foundation said, “As the pandemic continues, there is a need to strengthen systems and provide relief to as many people as possible. Corporates, citizens, the government, and civil society organizations are working together to address the situation. We are delighted to be partnered by AthenaHealth, as their support will go a long way in bolstering our efforts under the Health Cannot Wait campaign.”
Talking about the partnership, XXX, CEO, AthenaHealth said, “AthenaHealth is a responsible stakeholder in the healthcare ecosystem of the country. Through our support to Smile on Wheels, we want to increase outreach to the unserved and underserved, helping our community during these testing times.”
Smile Foundation’s Health Cannot Wait campaign solicits long-term investment through donations to strengthen COVID care centers with critical supplies like oxygen cylinders, oximeters & oxygen concentrators. It entails the setting up of oxygen banks for critical patient support among vulnerable communities, mobilization of PPE Kits & N-95 Masks for frontline health workers, distribution of Hygiene Kits (including masks, soaps, sanitizers, oximeters), tele-counseling to dispel vaccine hesitancy, spread awareness on COVID-appropriate behavior and the provision of primary healthcare services to reduce the load on existing health infrastructure.
So far, Smile Foundation has provided over 27.7 million meals to more than 200,000 families in 23 states of India. It aims to provide three square meals to more than 250,000 families and is working to provide 50,000 home isolation kits to Covid patients.
An important part of the campaign is the provision of free teleconsultation to the underprivileged through a toll-free number for tele-calling and outreach through bulk SMS service. The tele-consultation emphasizes the personal and community benefits of vaccination. Its objective is to address questions of people who are hesitant to get vaccinated, dispel myths, give them the right information, and encourage them to get vaccinated. So far, Smile Foundation has sensitized more than 100,000 people through tele-counseling and aims to reach out to 500,000 people through this medium.
Smile Foundation is providing doorstep healthcare services to around one million people from 2,200 marginalized communities in 14 states. It aims to benefit 2 million people with mobile hospital & telemedicine projects in FY 21-22.
The Health Cannot Wait campaign has so far provided over 80,000 kits of protective gear to frontline health workers and aims to provide 1 million protective gear kits to frontline health workers. As part of this campaign, so far, over 2,00,000 hygiene kits have been provided to vulnerable communities, and the target is to provide 500,000 hygiene kits.
About Smile Foundation:
Smile Foundation is an NGO in India directly benefitting over 15,00,000 children and their families every year, through more than 400 live welfare projects on education for poor children, healthcare, livelihood, and women empowerment, in over 2000 remote villages and slums across 25 states of India. Adopting a life cycle approach of development, Smile Foundation focuses its interventions on children, their families, and the community.