With hospitals now pressed in the service of fighting the Covid-19 virus, healthcare for the deprived has become an even more difficult to find necessity. Families surviving on limited incomes do not visit the public healthcare services to avoid spending on medicines or even traveling. In these days of financial hardships, it has only gone worse. We are addressing the urgent assistance required by such communities on health issues. With a two pronged approach:
Smile on Wheels, our mobile hospital programme is reaching out to over a million of the most vulnerable children and families in rural and urban slums. The reach has spread fast to the far-flung corners of the country as well.
Our OPD and sensitisation sessions have not just made those marginalised people aware of the necessary precautions in current times, but also helped them save on their expenses on healthcare.
In Dharavi, one of the biggest slums in Asia, the risk of Covid-19 spreading like wildfire was a huge threat for the thousands of its inhabitants and for the city of Mumbai. We joined hands with community health workers to spread awareness about the pandemic and curb community outbreak.
In Kanthariya village of Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, the literacy rate is less than 35% and most people are engaged in agricultural activities. Women of the household were sensitised about the importance of hand washing, maintaining personal hygiene, wearing homemade masks and taking all necessary precautions along with social distancing.
In Gitilpi village of Chaibasa, Jharkhand, a large swell in population was noticed due to migrant workers returning back from cities. Our Smile on Wheels mobile hospital service took healthcare services to them in these incredibly tough times.
In Sonbhadra, Uttar Pradesh, Smile on Wheels has been conducting door to door visits, counselling the elderly and spreading awareness about hygiene, social distancing and taking a healthy and nutritious diet, as well as the symptoms to look out for.
Health is much more than an individual not being ill. Public health is about a collective understanding and effort to promote healthy social and physical environments to prevent people from falling sick in the first place. Working together, we have a better chance of shaping social conditions that help individuals and whole communities to be healthy.