India has made rapid strides in the health sector since independence. Educational survey clearly indicates that access to healthcare still remains a challenge.
While the health statistics of rural India continue to be poor, the health status and access to health services of urban slum dwellers on the other has also surfaced to be equally deplorable. Despite accounting for 1/4th of the country’s poor population, urban areas have less than 4% of government primary health care facilities.
Urban slum children suffer from adverse health conditions owing to mainly two reasons –first the lack of education and thus lack of awareness; and second the unwillingness to lose a day’s wage in order to reach the nearest medical facility.
The neglect in even the simplest preventive medical treatment usually leads to a more serious ailment and eventually into deaths. The need of the hour is thus a two pronged approach – first to bring quality health care services to doorsteps of the needy and second to promote healthcare awareness and contemporary health care services seeking behaviour among the underprivileged.
In such a scenario a mobile medical services delivery system is the most practical mechanism. And in subscription to this view, it has initiated the Smile on education programme. This is a unique mobile hospital programme that seeks to address problems of mobility, accessibility and availability of primary health care with a special focus on children and women, in urban slums and remote rural areas.