“It is health that is real wealth, and not pieces of gold and silver “ ~ Gandhi
Substantial barriers exist that prevent rural villagers from receiving even basic medical care. Public medical clinics, for those who can afford them, offer substandard care. Even for those who would choose substandard care over no care, many do not have the means to travel to a clinic, nor can they afford to take time off work. The result is that many suffer unnecessarily, often from easily treatable conditions.
The Rural Health Care Project
The Rural Health Care Project began in 2007 as a result of the passion and commitment of two individuals, Madhan Mohan who is a native of Tiruvannamalai, and Erica Vermeulen, a nurse from Holland. Both were devoted to bringing medical care to those living in and around Tiruvannamalai who could not afford private medical care. Madhan had already prepared a detailed plan for these services which was shared with Erika and thus the Rural Health Care Project began.
The first step in providing medical care to the poor living in the villages around Tiruvannamalai was a project called Arunachala Village Medical Program. During the duration of this project, a medical team traveled to different villages five days a week in a rented Jeep. Every day they would travel to their destination and then set up stations where villagers received care. At the end of the day they would take down the stations. None of these locations had power or water.
Although Arunachala Village Medical Program was highly successful and was met with great enthusiasm and appreciation by the villagers, it had limitations. Many villagers had to walk hours to receive care from a clinic and those who were too ill or incapacitated could not make the trip. The lack of power, water and sanitary conditions inhibited the care that could be provided.
- More than 230,000 patients were treated till August 2014.
- Over 3,000 served every month
- Poor remote villages have access to medical care
- Health education sessions
- State of the art equipment
Mobile Medical Clinic
As the limitations of the initial project became apparent, the idea for the state-of-the art mobile clinic vehicle was born. A modern, well-equipped medical van would increase the quality of services provided, increase the number of persons served, widen the service area, and remove the strain of having to set up and take down the medical stations.
Fund raising efforts for a van were started in Holland and detailed plans for the creation of the mobile clinic vehicle were worked through in India. Ms.Sabine Kraut from Switzerland graciously provided support for the mobile clinic. With a great deal of excitement and gratitude, a state-of-the-art medical van arrived in Tiruvannamalai from New Delhi on February 10, 2010. On March 9th 2010, The Governor of Tamilnadu State His Excellency Surjith Singh Barnala inaugurated the mobile clinic project in Chennai.
The van is now driven to villages with a doctor, two nurses, pharmacist and volunteers 5 days a week, where more than 3,000 villagers receive treatment every month. The van has an oxygen cylinder, small refrigerator, intercom, electricity, air conditioning, modern medical equipment, filtered water, separate stations for each medical professional and a large screen outside the van to show educational health lessons.