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Smile On Wheels Provides Access To Primary Healthcare To The Poor At Their Doorstep In 22 States

( August 27, 2019 )

Smile on Wheels is a custom-tailored mobile medical unit van that provides free of cost door step consultation, basic medical tests medicines to underprivileged

New Delhi: Out-of-pocket health expenses drove 55 million Indians, more than the population of South Korea, Spain or Kenya, into poverty in 2011-2012, and of these, 38 million (69 per cent) were impoverished by expenditure on medicines alone, states the study carried out by Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and published in the British Medical Journal in 2018. Due to lack of funds, poor people often avoid necessary healthcare and even a preventable illness takes the shape of life-threatening disease. To address the issue, in 2006 NGO Smile Foundation introduced ‘Smile on Wheels’, a project to meet the primary healthcare needs of urban underprivileged communities.

‘Smile on Wheels’ is a custom-tailored mobile medical unit van, armed with modern equipment and a doctor and qualified nursing attendant on board, made available to cater to the primary health needs of beneficiaries in inaccessible areas. The ‘Smile on Wheels’ van provides free of cost door step consultation, medical tests like blood sugar and blood pressure, measuring weight and height and free medicines to underprivileged.

Giving out details of the initiative to NDTV, Santanu Mishra, co-founder and trustee, Smile Foundation, says,

“While free medical services is the core function of these vans but the secondary function also involves cultivating health seeking behavior in the community, awareness on health and sanitation, and consciousness on right eating and nutrition, particularly among pregnant women and infants.

The mobile medical unit vans contribute towards bridging the access and equity gap in our healthcare system. Further talking about the aim of smile on wheels initiative, Mr Mishra says,

“This free of cost door step service is our effort to reduce out of pocket expenses for the underserved communities, thereby helping them allocate their resources to other critical needs like food and education.

How Smile On Wheels Provide Free Healthcare

One mobile medical unit caters to the needs of the residents of 10-12 locations with bimonthly visits at each identified location. Before a medical van is scheduled to address the medical needs of slum dwellers, a team of volunteers does the job of community mobilisation. A group of volunteers go door-to-door, informing slum dwellers about medical van’s upcoming visit and how they can avail facilities.

One mobile medical unit caters to the needs of the residents of 10-12 locations with bimonthly visits at each identified location

Talking about the process for availing free medical facilities provided by smile on wheels, Mr Mishra says,

“As and when our smile on wheels (SOW) reaches its destination, individual willing to get free of cost medical consultancy needs to register himself/herself and wait for his/her turn. The reason we have made registration mandatory is to have the medical history of each and every patient at one place. This information comes handy when a person shifts from one place to another or when a doctor changes. For instance, a migrant labour living in Delhi moves to a colony in Kolkata and wishes to utilise the medical facilities provided by SOW in his current location. In that case, a doctor in Kolkata can simply know about his medical history from our data base and provide necessary treatment.

Smile On Wheels Changing Lakhs Of Lives

At the launch of NDTV Dettol Banega Swasth India on Monday (August 19) with campaign ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, NDTV spoke to a couple of 6000 beneficiaries from Basanti Colony in Kolkata. Most of the residents of Basanti Colony are daily wage earners and for them sometimes it is a choice between going to the hospital for medical care and earning their daily bread. Talking about how mobile van is better than going to a hospital, one of the beneficiaries said,

“The nearest hospital is far away and going there and standing in a queue whole day means the loss of a livelihood whereas mobile van addresses our needs quickly.

Smile on Wheels initiative that was first launched in 2006 became fully operational in 2011. Today, Smile Foundation runs 42 fully functional medical vans across 22 states in India, of which three mobile medical units are operational in Kolkata. Over the years, SOW has benefitted 3.4 lakh individuals and around 70 per cent of the beneficiaries are women and children. In Kolkata alone, nearly 1.25 lakh people have been benefitted in the last four years. Smile Foundation is aiming to add at least 40 more medical units in the next two years.


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Information Gathering

1. Smile Foundation collects information from the users in a number of ways, for example when the user:

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2. While forwarding a donation for Smile Foundation the well-wishers have to submit some personal information as it would help us ensuring genuine contributions:

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2. By signing up for various services offered by Smile Foundation, the user explicitly authorizes us to collect information based on the user’s usage. The information is used to help provide a better experience to the user and is used as per the user’s specified instructions.

3. Smile Foundation keeps the user information strictly confidential and this information is secured safely. All relevant information collected through Smile Foundation website is handled and used by internal and/or authorized officials only. It is nevershared with any external agencies or third party individuals.

4. Smile Foundation uses the information givento it in the following ways:

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5. Usually, Smile Foundation does not store user data. In case of specific sign-ups, the data is stored as per user request. The user can opt to delete all the information he/she has provided by simply requesting such by mail. All information, without exception, will be deleted in two working days.

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Individuals who join Smile Foundation’s mailing lists via its website or through its campaigning engagements are added to its email database. Smile Foundation does not sell, rent, loan, trade, or lease the addresses on our lists to anyone.

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1. Cookies are pieces of electronic information which will be sent by Smile Foundation when a user visitsthe website. These will be placed in the hard disk of the user’s computer and enable Smile Foundation to recognise the user when he/she visits the website again.

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3. If a user disables the use of cookies on the web browser, or removes or rejects specific cookies from Smile Foundation’swebsite or linked sites then he/she may not be able to use the website as it is intended.

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2. Several layers of built-in security, including an advanced firewall system, encryption of credit card numbers, and use of passwords, protect the collected information.

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1. Smile Foundation uses a number of external web services on its site to display content within its web pages. For example, to display video it uses YouTube. As with the social media buttons, Smile Foundation cannot prevent these sites, or external domains, from collecting information on the user’s consumption of the content embedded on its site.

2. The Smile Foundation website contains links to other websites for the benefit of its visitors. This Privacy Policy does not apply to such other websites.

3. Smile Foundation is not expressly or impliedly responsible for, or liable to any loss or damage caused to a user by the collection, use and retention of Personal Information by such website in any manner whatsoever. It is important that the users review the privacy policies of all websites they visit before disclosing any information to such websites.

Changes to Privacy Policy

1. As and when the need arises, Smile Foundation may alter its privacy policy in accordance with the latest technology and trends. It will provide you with timely notice of these changes. The users may reach out to Smile Foundation if they have any queries about any changes made to its practices.

2. If you have any questions at all about Smile Foundation’s privacy policy, please write to us at: [email protected]

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Welcome to this web-site of SMILE FOUNDATION. We make public our policy on refund and cancellation of donations received for the social cause on payment gateway as under:-

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