In a nation where the reach of the public health facilities is dismal and where private health care is prohibitively expensive, the old in their post retirement years face enormous difficulty in accessing any kind of medical attention. The Mobile Healthcare program in its entirety seeks to provide a sustainable healthcare solution to whole communities. The core of the program is a sponsored Mobile Health Unit (MHU). This Unit provides primary health care to the elderly, while simultaneously using the same resources to educate and inform the community on preventive healthcare, hygiene and connect the community to Govt. schemes of health insurance and pensions. The subsequent actions are extensions to Community led and managed Health services which will remain in place after the sponsored MHUs do not operate after 3 years.
WHAT IS HELPAGE INDIA DOING
To reach basic healthcare to 1 million disadvantaged rural and urban people, particularly the elderly in under-served communities by 2020. Currently, we are reaching out through 1383 community locations and the plan is to reach out to the community from 2000 site locations by 2020.
HelpAge Mobile Health services operate on a three pronged concept, at the core of which is the Mobi-Health Unit providing primary health care through direct intervention, followed by sustainable health care measures, such as setting up of Gram Chikitsa Centres and Accredited Clinics.
Direct Intervention: The Mobi-Health Unit
The Mobi-Health service provides affordable and quality primary health care services at the doorsteps of the needy elderly. The Mobi-Health Unit (MHU) consists of a 4 wheeler with customized fabrication done to carry medicines, consumables & equipment. These units visit designated locations on a regular basis (weekly or fortnightly) as per a fixed schedule. The coverage of each MHU is 10 locations per week, on a two-shift (morning & afternoon) basis.
Each MHU team consists of a medical consultant, pharmacist, social worker & driver. Each Unit is equipped to provide primary health consultation, basic diagnostic services, free medicines, referrals to specialized health care providers and counselling services. The social worker also informs and educates the community on preventive healthcare, hygiene and Govt. Schemes.
Community based sustainable healthcare: Gram Chikitsa Centres & Accredited Clinics
Within the 10 sites that are serviced by a MHU, attempts will be made to identify and form Elder-Self-Help-Groups from within the community. Once formed, the Elder-Self-Help-Groups (ESHGs) will be provided the seed capital to develop sustainable livelihood options. These ESHGs are necessary to move to the next stage of Gram Chikitsa Centres and Accredited Clinics.
Gram Chikitsa Centres: Simultaneously healthcare workers and volunteers will be identified from within the community and trained. Subsequently these workers will be used to set-up Gram Chikitsa Centres. The overall running, operations and monitoring of such Gram Chikitsa Centres will be managed by the ESHGs and costs including the fees of one visiting doctor will be borne by HelpAge for the first two years. The aim is to make the Gram Chikitsa Centres self-funded and fully managed by the ESHGs.
Accredited Clinics: These clinics would be in addition to the Community Managed Health Services or sometimes as a stand-alone next step. HelpAge will identify Accredited Clinics being run by existing local qualified medical practitioners to provide continued health services, once the HelpAge run Mobile Health Unit (MHU) exits in a planned manner. After initial support by HelpAge, there will be regular monitoring and structured reporting of such outsourced activities. Subsequently, the community is expected make the program becoming self-sustaining.
With the addition of the two elements of Community Managed Gram Chikitsa and Community Managed Accredited Clinics, the Mobile Health Services program will have a sustainable impact on the community.
Current Program Status
Operates Asia's largest mobile healthcare network for elders, with 120 Mobile Health Units covering 108 districts in 23 states with 1491 site locations providing 1.76 million free treatments per annum to 2.5 lakh beneficiaries.